Jump to content


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/25/2018 in all areas

  1. 20 points
    :O I'm blooping! (Is it even still called blooping?) It's only been five days and I already have no idea what I did before the jogging stroller. Thanks again to ALL OF YOU and especially fivestarks for organizing such a generous gift. I was a little scared to start - is her head stable? are the parts secure? is it put together right? WHAT IF IT FALLS APART?! - so I made DH do most of the pushing the first time on Saturday. Nobody was hurt in a dramatic stroller accident and L fell asleep so that's her vote of approval, I guess. Sunday I ran for the first time in almost a year. DH had to go twiddle his thumbs at the auto shop so I thought hey, why not try? My plan was to NOT wear my Garmin so it would stay more of an exercise-y walk/run in my head. What it ended up being was a 4.5 mile run with a few hills that I walked and some water breaks. I've had my fair share of comeback runs and mostly they really just are terrible. Feeling out of shape, wobbly, sucking wind and getting cramps in my shoulders. Why shoulders? Who knows. This one... was glorious. I WAS RUNNING. NO ONE COULD SEE POST BABY BELLY BEHIND THE STROLLER. I DIDN'T FEEL TERRIBLE. And perhaps most importantly... ANOTHER RUNNER WAVED AT MEEEEEEE!!! Sidenote: I didn't think through how the post-run was going to be... I'm used to being able to cool down a bit, take some fun pictures to put on Loopville, drink some water and take a nice long shower. Yeaaaahhh hahaha. No. Even my PF-y foot got in on the action and quieted down after the run. I haven't heard a peep out of it since. I guess it got a good stretching. My lower core muscles were a different story and I spent the next two days grimacing every time I had to lift a leg with DH giving me the you started out too fast/far again look. I'm used to that look. I don't care. But then I felt better and ran the same route again on Wednesday and it was equally as glorious and amazing. A tiny bit farther (I don't trust this Apple Watch for GPS) and a tiny bit faster (probably because of the warped distance) but still I'm taking it woohooo!! Here's L's second run face: "ok mommy, is this going to be a regular thing?" Honestly I just want to have something to do that eats up some time during the day and if that lets me get back into shape and enjoy running again, it's a huge bonus. And so I'll label this as cautiously optimistic for me getting back into it. It'll be different and difficult, but when I heard L cooing and giggling and waving Bill the monkey rattle around as I huffed and puffed behind her at mile 3... so so so worth it.
  2. 18 points
    Long overdue race report, as usual. Lots of pictures, as usual. Waaaaay back in mid-May, I traveled north for the second annual “Caitlin’s Birthday Mother-Daughter Race Weekend.” Last year’s inaugural event was the Martha’s Vineyard Marathon, where my Mom ran her very first half-marathon and I ran my 13th marathon. This year we were keeping it in New England but heading north to Maine, where Mom would run her third half-marathon (she’s a total pro now) and I’d run my 12th half-marathon AND my 17th marathon, because why run one race when you can run two?? I got home to Massachusetts from DC on Thursday, and Mom and I hit the road for Maine on Friday morning. But first, an important stop for apple cider doughnuts, because New England. We hit the expo at the University of New England in Biddeford, ME and picked up our packets, then had a tasty early dinner at a cute little Italian place in Saco, where we were staying. I got Flat Caitlin ready for Saturday’s half-marathon (race #1), and we called it an early night. Saturday morning dawned cool and crisp (sunny and 50 degrees!), which felt amazing to me since DC was already in the throes of its hot, humid summer weather. Mom and I drove over to the start/finish area at the University of New England (about 20 minutes from where we were staying; it seemed like everywhere we needed to be over the weekend was about 20 minutes away from each other…) and parked the car, then headed inside the nice warm student center to wait for the race to start. Lots of other runners slowly trickled in, and I kept an eye out for the yellow bibs that indicated another crazy person who was doing the 39.3 mile challenge. It was so awesome to have a comfortable place to wait indoors and to have real bathrooms to use prior to the race! With about 10 minutes to go, Mom and I walked the little ways over to the start line in a nearby parking lot. I was in the first wave, so I lined up in my corral and chatted with a couple of other runners while we waited for the race director to blow the official starter conch shell. At 8am sharp, the conch was blown and we were off! Given that I had a marathon to run the next day, my plan was to take the half-marathon nice and easy. This turned out to be a fantastic race to just run for fun, because the course was so beautiful! Almost all of it was right along the coast and I had so much fun soaking up the ocean views and marveling at the gorgeous beach mansions in the quiet neighborhoods that we ran through. The race seemed to fly by, and before I knew it I was coming into the finish back at the university campus! I was really happy with how consistent I kept my pace throughout the race, and how comfortable it felt. I collected my medal and commemorative water bottle (way to be both green and fun, Maine Coast Marathon!), went to the car to grab my warm layers, and then camped out at the finish to cheer on runners and wait for Mom to come in. I met two super cute and very good dogs waiting for their person to finish the race as well, so that was fun. And cheering at the finish line is ALWAYS a great time! Mom came flying in so much sooner than she’d expected – she finished in 2:54:xx, breaking three hours for the first time and getting a ridiculous 14-minute PR! After enjoying a post-race Shipyard beer in the beer garden, Mom and I got cleaned up and then headed into Freeport, because it was only about half an hour away and I was desperate to visit the HUGE L.L. Bean flagship store! It didn’t disappoint! The rest of Freeport was super cute and we had fun walking around and window shopping (and maybe doing some actual shopping too!). We stumbled upon the Wicked Whoopie store, which was SO exciting because they always come to the Big E (basically a New England state fair that’s held the next town over from my parents) and are a family favorite! Look at the size of this whoopie pie!! That is 5 entire pounds of sugar and fat. A little much even for my huge sweet tooth. I did get a few regular-sized whoopie pies though, including a chocolate-dipped one! Mmmmmm…. After walking around Freeport for a while, Mom and I had dinner and some beer flights at a really cool brew pub over in Portland: Liquid Riot Brewing. It was so delicious! Then we went back to our hotel, I got the marathon version of Flat Caitlin ready, and I hit the hay. I got up nice and early to have my pre-race breakfast and coffee, and Mom and I drove the 20ish minutes to the Marathon start at Kennebunk High School. Yet again, we had a nice warm indoor space to wait and real bathrooms! Maine Coast Marathon FTW! There was a bit of confusion after we moved out to the start line. The race director made an announcement that there was an emergency with the volunteer crew that was setting up the aid stations, and that there would be no hydration stations for the first 8 miles of the race. They would also be delaying the start by another 15 minutes to allow the volunteers to get the aid stations set up for the remaining miles of the race. We never found out what happened with the volunteers, and while I wasn’t super thrilled about extra time standing out in the chilly morning, I’d much rather do without water for the FIRST 8 miles of a marathon rather than the last 8! (as I sit here in August in DC thinking about 8 miles without water, I shudder a bit, but it was only in the 40s that morning!) Finally we were off! I had zero plans for this marathon other than to take it easy, have fun, and try to run fairly consistent splits, which meant starting off at a really easy effort. The course itself was mostly really enjoyable. We wound through Kennebunkport, which was such a cute little town! And there were more breathtaking ocean views and gorgeous beach houses to look at. There was a stretch along the shoulder of a highway that was less than ideal, and it’s also where pretty much all the uphill was. So that was a little unpleasant, but I got through it and the last few miles were back to scenic ocean views. I started with gloves and tube sock arm-warmers because it was so chilly! Oh to feel cold again… The volunteers were great, and by the time I came through Mile 6 or so, they’d gotten a makeshift water station set up. I honestly didn’t notice the lack of water for the first several miles, though I was thankful to have it once it was available again. Hopefully that issue didn’t mess up anyone else’s race too dramatically! It’s been a little while, so I don’t remember as many specifics about the race as I might have immediately afterwards. But I remember just genuinely enjoying running it, and kind of marveling at how fresh I felt given that I’d just run a half the day before. In the couple of place where there was an out-and-back that allowed us to see the runners ahead of and behind us, all of the people with the yellow 39.3 Challenge bibs cheered for each other, which was really cool! Before I knew it, I reached the final few miles. There was a photographer right at the 26-mile mark, which I thought was both hilarious and a little bit mean, so I had to cheese for him a bit. Mile 26: I made the final turn and heard my mom cheering before I spotted her. I crossed the finish in 3:54:53, which combined with my 1:54:40 half-marathon the day before, gave me a 6th place finish among the women doing the 39.3 Challenge! I was so happy with how I’d paced the marathon, and I was thrilled to have gone sub-2:00/sub-4:00 for the race weekend, since even though I didn’t officially have any goals, doing that was my not-so-secret goal. I picked up my marathon medal and Challenge medal, and borrowed Mom’s half-marathon medal (which she wore to the marathon finish line because why not?) for a photo shoot! So much bling! It was still cool enough at the finish for me to rock the Challenge jacket, so that was great! Mom and I hung around in the finish line beer garden for a while, and met up with Amber and her DH, which was great! Mom had packed up the car and checked out of our hotel while I was running, so everything was ready for our road trip back to Massachusetts. But we made a slight detour on our way out of Maine to see the famous Portland Head Lighthouse: After getting back to MA, I enjoyed a super relaxing week at home to recover, hang out at the stables, and celebrate my 32nd birthday! Next up: more catch-up bloops about summer training, crazy 5Ks, and chasing big goals!
  3. 15 points
    I’ve been doing a lot of writing here - for myself mostly because it’s pretty mundane. But maybe someone has a lot of free time on their hands and enjoys sifting through my mess. And my return-to-running training log is here for the spreadsheet lovers. Week 1 - 2 Week 2 - 5.6 Week 3 - 12.4 Week 4 - 18.4 Week 5 - 23.7 Week 6 - 19.5 (10 miles on Monday of Week 7) Week 7 - 39.5 (10 miles from Week 6) Week 8 - 28.2 Week 9 - 26.3 (taper-ish for Augusta 13.1 race) Week 10 - 66.1 (Hinson Lake 24 Hour - lots of walking) Week 11 - 21.0 (reverse taper) Week 12 - 42.6 Week 13 - 38.7 Week 14 - 27.0** projected Week 15 - 39.2** projected race week It’s been years since I’ve felt truly invested in a marathon cycle. The first Boston Marathon I ran in 2015 was likely the last time I truly had a focus on marathon-specific training. After getting into ultras, the specific workouts of road racing were speckled throughout my running, but I relied mostly on mileage and experience to get me feeling confident at the start line of a 26.2 mile race. I am excited! When reflecting (& reading) about how I felt in late March and mid-July, I wish so badly to go back and tell myself it will be okay. Even the time between boots were filled with trepidation. Things weren’t clicking. And if I really reflect back about consistently feeling good about my training, it was late spring of 2017. 18 months is a long time to feel eh about running. Sure, I had some fantastic races and great experiences in those 18 months, but I also remember it just not feeling as good as it does now. I’ll pin the blame on overracing and overtraining, but that doesn’t mean I’d change any course of events. I’d hop in my Delorean and do the exact same thing. Stupid? Maybe. But I am not apologetic about my experiences that led me to today. Back when I was still in the boot, I made a couple of versions of my training plan to get to the start line of the NYC marathon. I gave myself plenty of fluidity in mileage, time frames, and workouts. They were all modified versions of the lowest mileage Pfitzinger plan - the same one I used for Boston 2015. The podiatrist said it would take about 5-6 weeks for things to feel good again. And up to a year of random injury site pain - some real, some phantom. It was hard to navigate the first few weeks because I became anxious with everything that didn’t feel great. And honestly, a lot of things didn’t feel great. Slowly, things started to return to normal. I noticed the first day I stood at the sink and brushing my teeth felt normal. I noticed the first day that I walked across the gym and my stride felt normal. I noticed the first day that I lifted weights and I could bear weight on both legs. I cross-trained between running and walking. I ran paces that were 3-4 minutes slower than my typical training paces. I exercised as much patience as I could stand. And things started to change. I felt stronger and happier. My stride returned to normal. Things were clicking again. Every milestone in the recovery process has seemed almost like the first time I’ve done it. Workouts that I’ve done hundreds of times suddenly gave me butterflies. And I loved having that feeling again! 20 milers were a dime a dozen in 2016 & 2017. But suddenly I had to remember how to do them again! Do I bring gels? Do I bring water? Is it better to do 2 out-and-backs or 1 longer followed by 1 shorter? It was like falling in love with running all over again. And here I am, less than 2 weeks from standing in Staten Island with 50,000 other runners, feeling ready to tackle 26.2 miles.
  4. 14 points
    The year has rolled into October and the next marathon is around the corner. Training is done, for better or worse, so it's time to taper and consider how this last cycle went. Well, it's gone pretty well, I'd have to say. Certainly not optimal. Not my best training. Not my most miles, and definitely a little slower. But I'm looking on the bright side: It's only the second time I've done two marathons in one year - so the risk of injury was higher. I came out of LA in March with a tweaked butt that never really healed, just slowly got better. My knee started hurting in April and never went away - but it didn't get worse either, and I managed to get in almost all my miles. I'm on track for a new old man PR in total annual miles. And after bagging a BQ in LA, the rest of this year is really just gravy. I averaged about 40 miles a week for the last 3 months. Not a recipe for a PR, but considering everything, I'm happy with that. Plenty of good runs in there, many with my running group that keeps things fun. So I don't really have a goal for NYC, per se. My real goal is to enjoy the experience, smile throughout, high five a few hundred people, and finish another marathon. But seriously, I'd be a lot happier if my time were under 4 hours. And I'm telling people my goal is 3:45, so there's that. Sub 3:35 for a BQ is a long shot, so I'm not even going to try for that. My secondary goal is to practice restraint - try to keep my pace ABOVE 8:15 for the first ten miles. Then hopefully I can maintain or beat that to at least 20 before I start to fall apart. I'd love to see what it's like to negative split a marathon. I'm really just hoping I can finish without too much walking. And of course I'm looking forward to seeing about 6 very special Loopsters, before, during or after the race. Life is good.
  5. 13 points
    Words cannot describe how it feels to experience the change. The change in my body. The change in my mind. The change in my heart. Reflection is a tricky beast. In the best of times, it can be a happy reminder of experiences to stay optimistic for the future. In the worst of times, it can drag you to places you don’t ever want to revisit. We all have the moments of if I knew then what I knew now… and like to think of how we might appreciate something more or do it differently. But that doesn’t make us who we are today. I often cringe at clichès, but there is some truth in letting our experiences teach us for the future. I wouldn’t be as appreciative because I blissfully was unaware of potential loss. The eternal optimist expects to live long and live full. But that’s not to say we need the light to shine bright all the time. I always thought I was truly joyful in my health, my ability to run race after race without consequence, and never took shortcuts in my training. I didn’t sign up for things that were beyond my ability. I waited until I was physically ready and then, mentally ready. And sometimes I actually wondered aloud how was it possible to have all this good stuff happen to me. It is indeed possible to feel like a poser in your own life. I hate that it often intertwines with Adam and MS because the last thing that he wants is for anyone to feel sorry for him. But these moments of joy and health are not just shaped by my own experiences. They are a life shared with another. Walking from Morton’s back to our hotel in Chicago, draped over his side in my heels, I never knew this memory would stick out in my mind. We shared a bottle of wine, gorged ourselves with enormous steaks, and were in the midst of my to-this-day favorite trips I have ever taken. I flip through my mind and always stumble upon the last night we spent in Yellowstone in a cabin that seemed so far removed from the rest of the world. We might never be able to walk down the incline to view the upper falls again. And I cherish that night that we fell into bed, exhausted from the day and listened to the rainstorm come through with the window open. Even as late as last year when we wandered through thousand-year-old alleys and sipped frothy ales under blindingly blue skies, I didn’t know how much it would seal into my heart. That perfect afternoon of lying across the sofa together, legs entangled while we napped can never be duplicated. And I hold tight to the memory of smelling the crisp Scandinavian air in the middle of May, listening to a carefully cultivated jazz collection while dozing in and out of consciousness. I say all this because we often forget how good things are until we don’t have them. And I choose to reflect happily, feeling lucky that we did what we did when we could. After the Albany marathon last year, when I slipped under 3:15 after finally feeling confident to go for it, I felt on a precipice of immense joy. So I tried to savor all the good occurrences, again feeling like I was a poser in my own life. How could it be possible to be filled with such good? And yet, I feel excited for the same reasons for 2019. Maybe because 2018 has been tough so far. Maybe because I have planning some of this for over a year now. Maybe because I step without caution once again. Maybe because I’m just happy to find my joy again.
  6. 13 points
    Isn’t it great when non-runners look at you crazy for being excited to run? We pretend to be annoyed by their silly comments. I don’t even like to drive that far! I only run when something is chasing me! I run… to the refrigerator! Everyone laughs and then we go on about our respective lives. But I imagine that most runners secretly hold in the pride they feel when they hear such things. Pride because of the joy it brings us. Pride because of the sense of accomplishment we feel. Pride because of how it influences us to make better decisions in other areas of our lives (usually). We wonder if they are envious of our physical abilities or do they actually think we are certifiably nuts? I had this notion a few years ago that I was never going to run a 100 mile race. That just seemed, well, ludicrous! My body was just not the type that could manage to finish something like that, let alone train. Yet, here we are. And the more I listen to stories of people accomplishing amazing things in running, the more I believe that it really is possible to do things we never thought we’d do. I have been lucky to follow the journeys of so many fantastic runners. We won’t always get faster and we may not always run further, but challenging ourselves is what (in my opinion) sets us apart from the hobby joggers. I have no big races to report on. No big workouts to share. Assuming I’m playing the comparison game of course. Comparing to other runners. Comparing to 2017 Carissa. But I just completed a huge workout! 4 miles in the rain. I was thinking about my metatarsal and my tibia probably 80% of the run. Worrying if my gait was okay. Worrying if my cadence was okay. In a constant flux of am I doing enough or too much? And it may seem silly to say in the midst of all this worrying that I was somehow also really, really happy. It was humid and drizzling after a thunderstorm rolled through. I almost drove home, but decided very last minute to stop at the track. The high school football team was pouring from the main building to the stadium and I almost bailed at the thought of sharing the space when them. But they were getting in their $50,000 cars and driving home, leaving me to the track by myself. I laughed a bit thinking how perfect the conditions were if I were at the top of my game. But why couldn’t I appreciate it while coming back? So I fired up my Spotify “Comeback” playlist and laced up my new shoes labeled “Nike Pegasus Turbo The Comeback Shoe” and walked 400 meters before I started to run. You know how a summer rain run almost feels like you getting away with something? Like it’s a crazy little secret that’s yours. And you don’t want to tell too many people how awesome it is because what makes it great is that you usually have the running space to yourself? Yeah, so I’m acutely aware of the possibility that someone might see the shit-eating grin on my face as I shuffle around and around. There are the moments that I’m able to forget. I get lost in my thoughts briefly and when I’m jolted back to reality, I’m almost angry that I slipped back to consciousness. Because those lost-in-my-thoughts moments are great on any run, but they are especially great when all I can think about is my stupid injury. The rain picks up a bit and I look around the empty field, not at all surprised that I’m the only person in my vantage point. And I’m kind of happy that no one is in on my little secret today. At some point, I realized running circles in the humid rain alone might sound awful. But I’m lucky I’ve returned to my happy place.
  7. 13 points
    Well, it's like this. I killed off Facebook and Twitter because of their political implications. I'm wrestling with Instagram, but I don't know how I could rationalize it. I have a blog that has been overtaken by a guy from Estonia. And yet, I need to write. Always, I need to write. So here I am. I have entered the third act of life. I'm still working, but out of a small sweatshop being run out of our spare bedroom, so I never have to wear pants, which is a bit distressing for Mr. Pants. I'm growing a Letterman beard and forcing the cat to stay awake for a second hour of the day. But basically I never leave the apartment these days, except to bask in the glory of the SCC track. So that's what I've been doing. I got in an even 20 miles this week, which is the distance I always tell my oncologist I'm running, except now I wouldn't be lying. Except I have no oncologist visits scheduled in the near future, forcing him to bill someone else so he can afford his exotic mountain bike equipment. Mo has grown suspicious of my track obsession. I just walk, after all. What difference does it make? I don't know. It's just the feeling of the place. Some people love trails, some roads. Me? I'm at home in Lane 9. We've been talking about moving to Flagstaff. Does she pitch the mountains, the trails, the leftist vibe? No. "You know they have a really great track," she says. Mo is wise. It's been 150 degrees or so here lately, so mostly I have the place to myself. But today there were football guys and burrowing owls. There's been a long snapper working out here forever. He takes a big trash can, counts off 8 yards or so, and smashes a football into it over and over and over and over and over. I have thought a lot about how it would be more efficient to have a second guy. Yes, that's what I think about when I think about running, Mr. Murakami. Today, HE HAD A SECOND GUY! They took turns, one snapping to the other, then turning around, then going the other way, then back again, until they both pass out. This seems terribly boring to me, but then I'm walking in circles at a 14:50 pace. So ... The OTHER thing that drives me nuts is wondering who these people are. This track has everyone from Olympic gold medalists to ummm, me, so I'm always curious, but too shy to ask. AND THEN! The second guy today had his backpack on the bench, which gave just enough info for an intrepid journalist to uncover. He's the starting long snapper for the University of Utah. Sophomore, apparently quite good. Now if I can find out who the wide receiver with the white gloves is, I can sleep tonight. Or maybe hard apple cider. Yeah, that second one. Being a recluse makes the daily outing a huge deal. I'm pretty excited about the future. Miles is miles, yeah? I hope to get up to a decent weekly mileage and hope my body gives in and starts to speed up a bit. If not, that's OK. It's good to be alive on a sunny day. And so I will write inaccurate headlines, go out for a daily jaunt, and file here on a daily basis. Yes, you can ignore me. I just need a place to write without fear of Estonian retribution. It's what the late Dave Schultz would have wanted. It's good to get back on track ... my work posse. no, they’re not talking to me. yet.
  8. 13 points
    It has been almost a week since our Mt. Baker summit which left lots of things swirling around in my mind – about mountaineering, Mt. Denali, and being a part of this team. Respect I’ve been an athlete a long time and I understand the importance of respecting a sport. The sport itself, those who paved the way to make the sport what it is, and those who are experts or highly experienced/successful in that sport. I realize that I am not a mountaineer. Just because I’ve been learning lots of mountaineering skills, and making some pretty awesome climbs, does not make me a mountaineer. Mt. Denali is not a Colorado 14er. That mountain has taken many lives and will probably take many more in the future, so it deserves very much respect. I can ensure that I show this mountain and sport the respect that they deserve by being as well trained as I can be by next summer. I need to take all training seriously, listen to all the coaches and respect their decisions, and practice, practice, practice. Grateful Having the opportunity to be trained by actual mountaineers, Nick, Chris, and Nate, is such a privilege and honor. They have already taken so much time out of their lives to create this team and make it what it is today, and we still have almost a year to go. They aren’t getting paid to do this, and the only thing we’ve had to pay for is some personal gear and getting ourselves to each training. They’ve also made so much effort to get so much amazing sponsored gear for us. I am grateful to Veterans Expeditions and our many sponsors for making this trip happen. I am grateful to family and friends for their support as well. This truly feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I don’t want to take anything for granted. Fear and Self Doubt While we were hiking into base camp at Mt. Baker, I was really doubting myself and my ability to be on this team. It was the first time I really felt out of place and way over my head. I was upset that the training that I had been doing, wasn’t helping me at all. Then, our first night in camp, Nick had a talk with all of us. He went over one of the more recent cuts from the team, and told us all to really think about whether we wanted to be on the team and to climb Denali. At that time, I was thinking… Do I really want to keep putting myself through this? Parts of this just seem too hard and I don’t know if I can keep doing it. I feel like I should be having fun doing this. I am scared that I won’t be able to do this. I don’t want to let my team down. I should just bow out now. I don’t think extreme endurance sports are supposed to be fun 100% of the time. Actually, I think fun is only lightly sprinkled in, like a dash of cayenne to your favorite chili recipe. As an ultra-runner, this should already be imprinted on my brain. For some reason, I hadn’t allowed my brain to shift over to that mentality for mountaineering. Mountaineering is BY FAR much more challenging than ultra-running, mentally and physically. I never thought I’d find something that challenged me more than running 50 miles, but here it is. If you are the type of person that likes to push to your limits (and beyond what you think those limits are), it’s never all that fun until you are finished. These types of things are supposed to break you down, take you out of your comfort zone, piss you off, fuck you up, and then put you back together a much stronger person. You couldn’t accomplish that by just having fun all the time. The Team Being a part of this team and our (hopeful) summit of Mt. Denali, will no-doubt be the highlight of my athletic life. I feel so honored to be able to share this experience with so many amazing and inspiring women. I have deeply missed the camaraderie of being in the military, but I certainly get a lot of it out of this team. I still want to learn a lot more about each of these gals, and spend more time with them outside of training. Candice: She’s our fearless leader and has been doing an amazing job at leading this team. I’ve been lucky enough to have her as my rope team leader the past couple of trainings and she has done an amazing job. She’s the only one of the group that is still active duty (Marine Officer!), and has also been on Denali. I feel 100% confident that she can lead us to a safe and successful summit. Shanna: I already have a soft-spot for this woman. She is so amazing and inspiring in her daily life, and always has the right things to say at the right moment. She is also an ultra-runner. She always checks on me when I seem to be struggling and always tries to carry things for me. She was a big help on Mt. Shavano when I had my unsuccessful summit attempt, mentally and physically. Harmony: She brings lots of outdoor leadership experience and is also one of our rope team leaders. She always says things that makes me laugh and does an incredible job at helping to plan our trainings. She is already super strong on the trails and is certainly an inspiration. Don’t let that 5′ stance fool you! Stephanie: Reminds me of a bad-ass shield maiden with all her tattoos and always kicking ass on the trail! My favorite tattoo, and one that I just noticed on this last trip, is a jalapeno holding a gun with a flag coming out of it that says, “Pew!” I love it! She is always very methodical and is such a great asset to the team. Go engineers! Amy: I’ve had talks with her about also struggling on the trails, but she never lets it show. I think her feet were more torn up than mine were after Mt. Baker but you never would have known. She is way more bad-ass than she thinks, and I know she will have no problem on the mountain. All of these ladies 100% deserve to be on this team, including myself, and I can’t wait to get to know them even more. I definitely see some life-time friendships being built. Accomplishment Each training that I complete with this amazing groups, leaves me feeling more and more accomplished. The struggle of climbing for 11 hours on no sleep, then packing up camp and hiking out for three more hours, on tired feet and a worn out body, is all part of being broken down to be built back stronger. All parts of these each training, not just climbing with a heavy pack, are going to make me better, mentally and physically. Each time I proudly look back and think, Wow! I did that! For Denali, we will be carrying everything on our own (backpacks and sleds), and making our own way up the mountain. We will be calling the shots and making decisions – as a group – that will get us to the top (with the help of weather reports from rangers on the mountain, of course!). I wouldn’t want to climb this mountain any other way. Moving Forward While I’m a runner at heart, and have a marathon in December, I really need to focus more on becoming a stronger climber. I haven’t taken nearly enough time to hike in the mountains now that the weather is nicer. It becomes increasingly more difficult to get to the mountains (no 4×4) when the weather is bad so I need to get on it. The only way I am going to get better is to put that pack on and go. I have accepted the fact that this is a little scary! It’s ok to not be 100% confident and it’s ok to have moments of self-doubt. I understand that Mt. Denali will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I still have time to prepare for that, mentally and physically. I’m not going to allow myself to have I’m not good enough for this team thoughts anymore, because I am good enough. I am a member of this team. I am excited that I have unlocked this new level of myself. I really had thought that I’d “been there, done that” plenty and that I didn’t need anything else to truly challenge me. I will be a changed person after Denali, and I will be a better runner. I just hope this doesn’t spark the feelings of wanting to try longer ultra-marathons again. I really think I’m ok without it…haha! Purpose (in my opinion) The purpose of this climb and our team is evolving, in my opinion. First and foremost, we want to encourage other women veterans to join in on trips with Veterans Expeditions. They offer so many trips and just don’t get that many women participants. I do think this will help get the word out more about the organization, and draw the attention of more women. Secondly, I think this will inspire women push their limits and try what they think might be impossible. You don’t have to be a seasoned mountaineer to climb Mt. Denali. With adequate and safe training, it is possible! You also don’t need for a man to guide you up the mountain, or lug around all your shit for you (but many props to those of you who do that for a living!). Lastly, there can never be too many role models in this world. The times are crazy and there is so much scary news out there. I don’t want younger generations to lose sight of the great things waiting for them out there. I want my nieces and nephews to be proud of me and excited to talk to me about this in the future. I have a “favorite bad-ass aunt” status to earn! Thanks for reading, Chris
  9. 13 points
    Life keeps going by. I'm running. Nothing too exciting. Apparently not enough to get me to want to write about it. But for weeks now I've been thinking maybe I should just update you good folks on this dying medium. Because feedback is always nice. I brought up streaking back in May I believe, and my streaking went pretty well! I made it to 55 straight days without missing a workout - crushing my previous record of 11. Toward the end I just felt tired all the time and a trip to Kentucky gave me the excuse I needed to take a few days off. But I was proud of the streak and I liked the incentive to get out there each day and keep it going. I still work out most days. The injuries come and go. My right butt/hamstring seemed to be better, but then an increase in mileage made it hurt again. It bothers me a little but I'm running through it. Also my left knee is starting to hurt, probably as some kind of compensation injury. Both of these hurt more after spending long shifts sitting in the car ubering. I guess I need to stretch more and stuff, but, whatever. Nothing is too bad yet. But I admit I'm a bit nervous since I need to ramp up to marathon training like now. I'm doing about 30 miles a week, with long runs of 11, so I have a decent base, but its time to get it up to 40 in August and 50 in September if possible. I'm also still doing speed work, because it's fun. And because the annual 1-mile track race is coming up in a few weeks. I'll take another shot at sub-6, but I'm not confident. Last week we did 4x250 and 8x400. The 400s were all around 90, and rests were short, but the thought of running 4 in a row at that pace sounds pretty hard. On July 4th I did our local 5K for the 16th time. I didn't have any big goals, just wanted to have fun, push myself and see how I'm doing. Hoped to break 21. Felt pretty good for 2 miles (6:52. 6:40) but then ran out of steam just when it was time to push and only managed 6:52 for mile 3 (downhill!). Managed a 21:13 which left me a bit dissatisfied. And therefore more motivated to work harder. But I did beat my coach again and got 4th in my AG and a 72% Age grade so I guess I'm doing OK. Here's some photos. Life updates: We're back to being empty-nesters. Dear 24-year old son moved out some months ago and he now has roommates and is doing fine living independently finally. And the foster/adoption saga finally ran its course as Chloe moved out after a year with us. A variety of factors were involved and I don't want to write a thousand words about it. But it has been tough on us and we are recovering. Probably won't try again since I know you're wondering. Not sure what the future holds but we are taking a little break right now. DW has the summer off and we are enjoying a peek at retirement life. We did a week in Kentucky visiting her family. Caught a Reds game and saw the musical "Once on this Island" which was fun. I also played two rounds of golf. Next week we are going to Las Vegas for 3 days, catching two shows and laying by the pool in 107 degree heat. There will be no running that weekend! We have two days booked for museum days here in LA. And of course we go to the beach a lot. Because it's right there. And I'm reading a lot. Later in August I will be visiting my parents in Western North Carolina for a week. Of course I have to plan my miles around all this. Long Beach Half on October 7th and New York City marathon November 4th are looming. And that's all I've got for now! See you on Facebook and Strava!
  10. 12 points
    “When ya know, ya know... ya know?" That was Crush, the sea turtle, in Finding Nemo. And that’s me, veering into a whole new career choice. Most of you know my background, growing up in what is a glorified (by some) cult. For the first 24 years of my life, few of my decisions were my own. As an Amish person, first, which took away most of the experiences and choices of what we consider normal coming-of-age, and secondly, as a woman, which limited or eliminated them further. What you wore, where you went, who you could hang out with, whether you got an education or not (8th grade), what you did for a career (you don’t have one), who you marry (almost completely the choice of the males, ie the boy/man who “chose” you and your father’s consent). I always laugh a little when people ask if our marriage was arranged... 'My friend, your whole life in that culture is arranged.' Mostly I’m okay with how it all went because there’s nothing I can do to change it. Play the cards you're dealt and all that. Occasionally I mourn a bit the life I didn’t get to live or choose for those years, years that are so important to who you are and what you become. But in the end, I can only be what I am going forward. Years ago, when my babies were little, I thought of going into the emergency medical field. It appealed to me to then. But the schedule of classes seemed almost impossible; at the time, my husband was working overtime plus attending classes of his own to become a volunteer firefighter. I was taking classes online to get an associates degree and, you know, babies. Once said babies were both in school, I stepped into the working world and got a job. For two years, I worked at a bank. Which I enjoyed, but the pay was crappy and the hours (every Saturday) even crappier. When an opportunity came up for better hours and pay came up at the beginning of this year, I took it. Except that almost immediately after being hired I was asked to work 8 hours more per week than I’d agreed to. And though I like the people around me and have no complaints about my actual workplace, I simply hate the work. I'm chained (figuratively) to a desk answering phone calls and fielding complaints/problems. It’s mindless, it’s numbing, it’s absolutely NOT what I want to do for the remainder of the month, much less the remainder of the year. And certainly not my life. After 3 months of it, I was confiding to a friend how I felt: hating my job, dreading Mondays, feeling generally stuck and unmotivated in my life. She said, “Peg, if you’re feeling like that only 3 months in, it’s not the right fit.” So I thought hard about what it is I might want to do, talked with people around me and my husband said, you always wanted to be an EMT, why not do that? And something in me said, YES, WHY NOT?! I made some calls, paid some money, squeaked into an already-full class by impulsively calling the instructor and pleading my case, and voila! A week later I was an EMT student. The schedule is tough. On the class days of Tuesday/Thursday, I leave my house at 8:30 for work and I leave work at 5:00 in order to make the class on the other side of town. I have about a 30 minute cushion to grab something to eat, or study, or grab a nap in the car (I’ve chosen that over dinner), and then class begins at 6:00. It runs to 9:30-10:00, after which I make the trek back home, usually getting in the door around 10:20 or so. Home from my day, no shower, often no dinner, and exhausted. Every other Saturday I have a weekend class that runs 9:00am to 3:00-4:00pm or whenever the material is covered. Yesterday was the first Saturday. Last night I was online doing lecture modules and practice quizzes for over 3 hours- after the day of class. The written material is a 1500 page textbook, divided in 40 chapters, with online tests, quizzes, etc. that go toward your final score. About half of the time in class also includes hands on practicals, which will soon increase to almost all of the classtime going forward. A big final showdown of testing in both on-field practicals and a written test comes at the very end, and if I pass in mid-August, I’ll be a state and nationally certified EMT. There’s a high demand for this in our area (and maybe everywhere), so I was assured getting a job is no problem. From there, who knows? I have a long-term goal of becoming a paramedic (1000 hours/1 year of training). Maybe a flight medic, or an EMT instructor? All I know is that despite the challenge of an additional 8-16 hours of class per week on top of working 30 hours and caring for a family and trying to get some runs/workouts in, it’s what I want. As opposed to what I do now… after 24 hours out of the 150 required for the course, I am loving this stuff. They say you know fairly quickly if you’re cut out for it or not. I guess I haven’t yet seen blood and gore and limbs breaking and babies being born and using an AED to shock someone’s heart (though I did it on a mannequin!) but if hearing about it and learning about it indicates anything, well, I’m cut out for this. It grabs me. It’s interesting. It feels like purpose. Like I’m doing something that means something, not just to me, but to the greater world around me. I need that sense of purpose like I need to breathe. We just covered anatomy, which was my favorite. Specifically, heart stuff. Holy cow, the heart is an amazing little muscle-pump-of-never-ending-beast-mode. And all that running, including the injuries!- came in handy at last. ‘Skeletal structure of the lower extremities? Got it. Difference between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism? Yessir.’ Medical terminology, ughhhh, not so much. Pages and pages. All those suffixes and prefixes that you can attach onto words to make a whole new medical term? *holds head in hands* And don’t even get me started on mnemonics. THEY ARE MANY. The increased workload will mean no ultras for me this summer, and probably no marathons until at least late fall, if any. Boston is still out there, but for now I need this more. I’m okay with running for fun… doing some 5ks and actually training for one?... using running as a way to alleviate the stress of sitting at work and sitting (again) through class. Currently, I need running to be a supportive friend, not another obligation/job. I tell myself, when it gets chaotic and tough and there aren’t enough hours in a day and I feel like a bad mom and wife and I’m trying to stay awake long enough to shower and eat at 11:00pm… this is like a marathon. A summer of hard work, a lot of sacrifices, maybe not as much sweat but definitely a few tears. The finish line is worth it. And like the marathon, the finish line is seldom just a finish. Instead, it can be the door to a world of new possibilities.
  11. 12 points
    This was not one of my better run races; not by long shot. I’m not really upset by that though. First the basic facts: This was my second Boston and 12th marathon finish. Finish time of 3:28:52 was my third fastest marathon and a minute faster than last year.. My PR from last fall was 3:17:53. Goal for Boston was 3:15. The weather forecasts a week or so before the race was predicting conditions very similar to last year: cold, wet, and significant headwinds. As the race got closer this started to change to warmer temperatures but still wet. The prediction for winds were pretty varied but in the couple of days before looked like it would be a tail wind. I wasn’t too happy about temperatures in 60s but thought that with the cloud cover, some rain and tailwind it might be okay. So what happened with weather? It was actually pretty nice at the start; it felt almost cool, it was cloudy, not much wind. Unfortunately, the temperatures only got warmer and at about the halfway point the sun actually came out. (Note that it did rain later but by that time I was walking from my hotel to a bar to meet my running club buddies.) I picked a pace band at expo for my goal time (3:15). This wasn’t a generic pace band with even splits (7:26) but rather, considered the downhills and uphills of the Boston course. My pacing for the first 15 miles was pretty close. I knew the Newton hills would be hard but was hoping that I could grind through and recover and get back on pace for the last five miles. Unfortunately, I started to struggle mightily on the hills and ended up taking walk breaks on the third hill and on Heartbreak hill (miles 20 and 21). By the time I got to Boston College is was in survival mode and taking a walk break every mile. The upside (?) was that I had plenty of company. I may have been in 3:15 shape but just not in 3:15 shape for a warm Boston day. The decision to go for a significant PR at Boston was certainly bold but I already had a BQ (minus 17 minutes) from the Marine Corps Marathon last fall so I felt like I was playing with house money. The upside of a “nice” spring day was that the spectators were really out in force. I was really in awe of the number of spectators out last year in that miserable weather but this year there were at least 3 times (or more) out there. The singlet I wore to race included the Maryland state flag and I got a lot of cheers for that; it was really nice to hear “Go Maryland!” and “Terps” throughout the day. I probably could feel upset and frustrated about not hitting (or even coming close) to my goal. I’m not. I was last year (which had a similar story) but I think that I so enjoyed the process of training for the race that the race result wasn’t the most important thing. There are a couple truths: you can’t control the weather and the Boston course is tough. I would have loved to have run a PR (or even just decent race). Hopefully, if all goes well this summer, I’ll be toeing the line at the Marine Corps Marathon ready to run a new PR. And next April I’ll be back in Boston.
  12. 12 points
    I've been feeling decidedly media unsocial lately, to the extent that I had thought about not even writing this RR. I guess along with all the other skills I've never developed, I'll never develop the real hermit skills I need to disappear from the Loop or Loopville completely. I'm also pretty much a slave to tradition, and I've been writing about my running long enough now that a race feels incomplete without reliving it here. Not feeling the joy, though, so you aren't likely to find anything especially humorous. But it was a race and I ran it and I'm going to write about it, so grab a cup and settle in for whatever time you can stomach. After the year that has been 2018 (and I do plan - unenthusiastically perhaps - on recapping this whole disaster of the last 365 days), I wasn't on the fence about returning to the Delaware beaches for the second year in a row. My decision was made late because I wasn't sure about my training, given the lingering pain from Louie's meniscus tear and the surgical repair. Last year it was a foot problem after San Francisco that had me sneaking in to the marathon in Rehoboth. HotPinkSneakers had kept that under wraps until I got there, hoping to repeat the fun of 2012 in the Twin Cities. This time that seemed too obvious. But, after the slowest and most discouraging build up of my life, by late October I finally felt like maybe I had a half marathon in the old legs. I wanted a good double digit run to be sure, and that hadn't happened yet. Of course I also needed Mrs. Dave's approval of the finances. The house all the Loopsters were staying at was full, so I needed a place to stay off the street. I looked at flying Spirit to Baltimore like last year, then discovered that I had some miles in my Delta account that would let me go DTW to DCA for free. Airbnb had a house at a price not much more than the local hotels. This sort of came together quickly one Sunday evening, and I decided that if all three - fitness, flight, nest - were still available by the end of the week, I was going. I bumped into a neighbor who also runs during the week who told me this was a no brainer. Usually, that's the level of brains I use for decision-making, but I still waited for the weekend. Mostly worried about the knee. Delta thanked me for being a frequent flyer. I don't consider myself a frequent flyer, although I've done a bunch more in the last two years than ever. Good flight, though, and I was traveling light, with just a backpack. There were Loopsters at the airport - HPS, zamgirl5, gingersnapMKE - and it was a pretty short wait for RunEatRalph, who was making a long road trip from his place in VA, and had graciously volunteered to let a few of us pile into his wheels. The 2-1/2 hour drive from Reagan to the coast went pretty quickly. That Gingersnap can really talk. I can't, usually, but I said a couple of things that might have contributed. We stopped at a KFC for chicken tenders (Ralph and I were starving). We stopped in some other place for a few groceries for dinner. Once we got to Rehoboth, the rest of Friday was hanging out a little at the Dogfish Head bar, getting settled in the Airbnb with runningplaces9919, then making and eating dinner, and I mostly listened to the bigger and bigger group of Loopsters laughed and joked and I wondered if I was getting too old for this sort of gathering. But the food was excellent. RP and I called it early and drove the mile to our house. We'd tried a practice run to the Loopster house to see what made sense for race morning - drive or walk. The main bridge was closed, so we couldn't scout the route very well and decided that a drive and park was the safest bet. The little house was perfect for two guys with no intentions to party. Had trouble sleeping Friday night. Not normally a problem for me, but I was all nerves about the race and the knee and being with Loopsters after a long time. But eventually I dropped off and got a decent night's sleep. We were both up at 5:00. We didn't have the best parking, but it was within reasonable walking distance from the Loop house and the finish line. We gathered with the Loopsters and then walked to the starting line, just a few minutes before the start. Good thing, too, because it was cold. Just under 30o, which is a tough spot. Just on the border of whether to go with multiple layers. In the end, I had double shirts, shorts, double gloves and my trusty old Twin Cities headband. That turned out to be the perfect choice. I was cool most of the morning but never freezing, and never over heated. Plan for the day: My A goal was 1:45, or 8:00 pace. I was a little scared of that because I hadn't had a decent tempo run and about half of my long intervals were weak on the back end. But I'd done 6 x 800s on Wednesday at almost 3:30, so I thought I'd give it a go. I basically cut my 2014 Marshall plan in half. First 5K easy (8:30, 8:15, 8:15), then a bunch of 8:00's, and hope to have a little left to push for the final 5K. No hills because Rehoboth, so all I had to do was get into a rhythm and it would be great. The plan almost worked. Mile 1 was OK, at 8:38. I'd lined up behind the 3:40 pace group, forgetting that my slower start should have people passing me early. The first half mile I was seeing sub-8, so I dropped off some, even though I was a little in the way. Etiquette fail. But there were plenty of others slower than me and no one was really blazing the first mile weave, so I didn't feel too bad. Mile 2 was 8:18. Not perfect, but pretty close and no danger signs from the knee or from the ankle, which has been sort of bothering me the last couple of weeks. I haven't mentioned it, hoping it'll go away of course. The I get to mile 3 with a 8:15. No issues. Didn't feel all wonderful or anything, but that kept me from trying to go faster, which was smart. Not that I'm usually smart. I was keeping y eyes open for Loopsters on the course, and saw ocrunnergirl after the turnaround. Just behind of me was a couple of guys, and one of them was a loud-talker. I could tell you all about their jobs and their wives and a bunch of other things except it would not doubt be as excruciating for you to read as it was for me to listen to. Sadly, they were very nearly at my pace and I knew I didn't have it in me to push any more. A woman had something go wrong with her watch about then, and Loud-talker made it his mission to settler her down and mansplain how she'd be OK and she shouldn't let it ruin her race and that everyone else had a watch if she needed to ask where her pace was. She apparently did have it in her because she took off and got as far away as quickly as she could. I hope she finished well. Mile 4 - 8:08. This is where I figured that discretion would be the better part of valor and not panic about losing those 8 seconds. My effort felt about right. Pushing would only come back to haunt me later. And I hadn't had a sustained effort double digit run in over a year, so I had no confidence I could run down 8-10 seconds per mile for nine more miles. Head down and take it one mile at a time. That next mile was 8:03. I never felt great the whole morning, btw. The race was a grinder and I just hung in as best I could. Running that 8:03 should have given me a boost, but it barely registered. Back through downtown and past the finish area I started looking for Loopsters again. Corc-o-rama and PearlGirl were spectating and I expected them around there, but missed them I guess. Then as I approached the bridge (taking the sidewalk to avoid the open grating that everyone hates so much), I spied aschmid and slow_running ahead of me. I was gaining on them, but since I wasn't hitting my 8:00s I hadn't planned on seeing them until a little later if at all. I slowed a little to stay with them for a little, but lost them when we turned onto the road that went towards the gravel path The road was open and they had the runners restricted to the bike lane which was barely wide enough for two runners. I went in front and they dropped off. I followed two women running side by side all the way to the path. I didn't have the energy to try swinging out around them, and that would have put me outside the cones unless I put on a good surge which I wasn't prepared to do anyway. Anyway, with all that, Mile 6 was 7:54. Maybe I'd get a second wind and be able to push that last 5K after all. I haven't really had a chance to run with fuel this year, so I wasn't 100% confident about the Hammer Gel I'd brought with me. Normally I down one half way through a pikermi. The other thing I wasn't sure about was how easy it would be to get to it. The latest version of my C9 shorts don't have the normal pocket at the waist. There's a zippered one in the back. With the sand on the path making my footing sort of dicey, and my energy starting to flag a little, I lost 30 seconds for mile 7. 8:28. But, after fueling up I just needed to wait for a few minutes to feel rejuvenated, right? Nope. Instead, my stomach decided to treat my heretofore trusty Hammer Gel like a foreign invader. It also happened that I was now behind Loud-talker and his buddy again. Fortunately, they were working harder and not talking as much, but it worried me some. I worried more about getting to the POP at mile 8. And it felt like I'd added ten pounds to each leg. Please get me to mile 8! 8:18. The POP is at about mile 8-1/2. There was no line! Just a quick stop for business and I'd be good as gold again. Again, nope. I watched the watch that (still) has yet to be named count and count and count, while I tried to make sure there wouldn't be another pit stop when I came back through at Mile 10. One minute. Two minutes. THREE MINUTES! And I was finally on the trail again. So much better. Mile 9 counted out at 10:59, so it would have been one of the best of the day without the stop. The three minute break probably helped my last four and a half miles, I guess. So I'll take that little victory. Somewhere after that I saw NCAthlete coming back the other way. She was working and looking better than I felt (she always looks better than me anyway). Some people love trails. I don't mind them if I'm not in a hurry. The little path through Ritter Park in Huntington is a Loop-Marshall favorite. Not mine. Nor is this part of Rehoboth. Last year I stopped more times than I can tell you to shake rocks out of my shoes. This time I avoided that somehow (dumb luck), but the top layer was just sandy enough that the footing was a few degrees away from slippery. Added stress I didn't need. I couldn't wait to get off that trail. I saw aschmid as I approached the turnaround. She and Slow_Running had of course passed me while I was in the POP. I called out but she didn't look very happy. Found out later she'd also stopped at the POP, and was on her way to make a second visit. Never did see SR. Mile 10 was 8:11. Not great again, but now I only had a 5K to go. Like I'd been afraid, there wasn't much more I could put into my pace, and I mostly hoped I wouldn't slow down a ton, although that's exactly what I wanted to do. Grind. Mile 11 - 8:16. These were all supposed to be sub-8:00. Not this day. But I compared it to how it felt, which was more like 9:15, and also reminded myself that most of this year I hadn't been able to run at all. Didn't make me go any faster on that stoopid sandy path, but it kept my mind positive. I was actually running a race again, despite the fact that I really, really wanted to walk for 10-30 seconds. And the trail was ending, which was the best news of all. HoosierJill and SLCAthena were coming onto the trail, having way more fun than I was. My legs were feeling pretty dead, though, even after getting back on the road. 8:11. On the grates going back over the bridge, which didn't suck nearly as bad as the trail. I was actually passing a few people along here, too. My brain was off and I was mostly making sure I stayed on the route. Would have been bad to get lost. It was at Mile 13 (7:46) that I finally saw Corc and Pearl. They gave me a cheer and I kept up my not-death march. I've felt way worse in races, so this was fine. Not comfortable, but pretty good all things considered. Final .1 (.19 per Garmin) @ 6:56. Numbers. Official time 1:50:46 (8:27) 3 mile split - 25:26 (8:25) 9 mile split - 1:17:28 (8:36) Overall position - 337/1651 Men - 220/562 M 55-59 - 22/82 (just for fun, I would have been 6th in my next year's new AG) Two miles (6 & 13) @ sub-8:00 Slowest miles - 1 (8:38 - planned) and 9 (8:28 - fumbling with Hammer Gel) (not counting the 10:59 Mile 9, of which 3 were spent stationary) So, let me consider. First time training specifically for a half marathon. Ran zero miles for much of the year. Training was more or less spotty even after getting through the end of summer. Still getting older. 1:50 was my B-goal, so I can check that off. I'll also give myself an A for effort. Maybe it's just from not racing in so long, but I was never comfortable after the first three miles. Now for an easy winter. I'll run if I'm not too busy, it isn't too cold and the sidewalks are mostly clear. I can plan a late spring marathon (May?). Maybe something early in the fall and Disney World in January, provided I stay healthy. That's the only bucket race I have left and I'd like to get it done sooner rather than later. How's this for a race face?
  13. 12 points
    "...after the finish line, I stopped and smiled, and then disappeared, as my NYCM poncho fell empty to the ground..." Nah, just kidding. I'll be back for more. (just like Luke) Anyway, I felt like Luke before the race; A grumpy curmudgeon saying "what's the point?". But I decided to show up and save the universe for a happy ending, because that's what Jedi do. OK, back to reality. I flew to New York on Thursday with no big goals. I just wanted to enjoy the fabulosity of the New York Marathon for the second time. Planned to just run and hope I didn't die too badly. I was happy to be seeing a few of my best buddies there. I was happy about the weather forecast. I was happy to see my brother and his wife and enjoy the (free) hospitality at their house in NJ. I was happy my wife was able to come and watch. And I was happy to have gotten through a week of dental crises. Two weeks earlier I had a toothache which was a large abscess. I needed a root canal, but couldn't get it scheduled until Tuesday of marathon week. That's fine, the dentist said. Better before than after, and you should have a quick recovery. He gave me an anitibiotic which killed the pain after two days. Tuesday I went in for the root canal which really isn't that big a deal. Just a long time in the chair. But the endodontist couldn't finish it - one of the roots was tricky and he wasn't in his office with his top equipment. So I had to reschedule for Wednesday with another endodontist. Once there, she said I really needed TWO teeth rooted out, but she could do them both right then and there. So she did. By Thursday morning I headed to the airport with no tooth pain and relieved that it all got taken care of. But then the pain came back (which she said might happen). Thursday night it was so bad I was up half the night with a throbbing jaw. She had given me a prescription in case of this so I got the antibiotics again and super-ibuprofen for the pain on Friday morning. But it was still hurting a lot. So I called the doc and she got me another prescription over the phone for a corticosteroid (prednisolone) which is an anti-inflammatory. Picked that up Friday afternoon and popped three in my mouth. By bedtime the pain had subsided quite a bit, and by Saturday I was basically as good as new. Phew! Met up with Carissa (with hub) and Gonzo (with wife) and Roger and Liz in Manhattan for lunch and bakery goodies. Great to see them and talk running. Having Loop buddies all over the country is such a great perk. Sunday broke cool (45) and sunny with no wind. Just perfect. I got dropped off at the Fort Wadsworth start village by my brother at about 8:00 and had time to chill out. Potty lines were short and I managed to find Gonzo so we got to cruise around together. It all went smoothly. I had packed two GUs and my phone in my Flipbelt, as well as a little pill case with my steroid, antibiotic and pain pills I was supposed to take. Because I was still worried the stress of the race would activate the tooth pain and wanted to stay on schedule. I kept my phone out to take pics and video the start like so many of the people around me. On the bridge after the start, a lot of people stopped, climbed up on the divider and took pics. So many foreigners and languages. It's very cosmopolitan. And cool. Feels pretty special. I took a quick video, but I couldn't resort to actually stopping. My Garmin was running! This was a race after all! Then, as I fiddled to get my phone into my flipbelt, the pillbox popped out, fell to the ground and popped open. Pills scattered across the roadway. I gasped and stopped for a second, but realized it was hopeless and kept running with the crowd. Oh well. What will be will be. I was jogging easily and enjoying the view and the scene at about 9:30 pace, but eased into race pace and got over the crest and to mile 1 in 8:59. Then mile two is mostly coming down the bridge and I couldn't help running a 7:36, although I was just cruising. My pace "goal" was to keep it above 8:00, preferably around 8:15, and try to hold back as much as possible and delay the inevitable bonk. Yes, the goal was to go slow, not to go fast. And for the most part I was successful. I cruised through Brooklyn just enjoying the massive crowds. Brooklyn is my favorite part of the race. It's the loudest. Louder than First avenue in Manhattan. Lots of bands and music and people with microphones. And so many are screaming! I tell ya, it makes you feel like a rock star the whole way. It feels like they are screaming just for you. I did lots of hand slapping and smiling. The miles clicked by. 8:03, 7:56, 8:02, 8:01 through six. Feeling good. At mile 7 I decided to take a GU, but I had a heck of a time getting it out of my flipbelt. Just could not find the hole. After about a minute I decided to pull over and stop and get it out. I knew the fuel was more important than the time. And again, I didn't really have a goal finish time that mattered. So I stopped, and it still took me about 30 seconds to get the darn thing out of the belt. But it finally emerged and I moved on. Hence mile 7 was 8:44. I was taking gatorade at every single mile, and occasionally water too. I wasn't sweating much, so dehydration wasn't a concern. But I feel like I never fuel enough, so today I was going to max out on the gatorade. And I never got sick of it. My stomach did fine. 8-10 were 8:06, 8:00 and 7:52. After 8 miles of constant noise, we hit a quiet patch with almost nobody cheering. This was the Orthodox Jewish section where many men could be found in their black suits and hats and long beards. None cheering. Most seeming peeved. One broke into a trot to cross the street through the runners and gave me a little smile. By now I was starting to tire and it became more workmanlike. 11-13 were 8:09, 8:07, 8:14 and I wasn't holding back any more. Now it was an effort to maintain the pace. The endless self talk of "just keep going" started up. Each mile marker was a victory. Hit halfway in 1:47:50 which is just a hair over BQ pace. But I had no illusion about running a negative split to break 3:35. Well, OK, I thought about it. As in, wouldn't that be nice. But I didn't feel that good. I could tell my body was wearing out and the usual price would be paid. The bridge at 13 was longer and steeper than I remembered. And the suffering began. Well, not yet. For the next three miles you are getting close to the next bridge and anticipating Manhattan. The course turns a lot and there are some good crowds again. So much screaming. In mile 14 I went for my next GU and again had trouble and had to stop to get it out of my belt. Cost maybe 15 seconds. As I was stopped, bystanders gave me pity cheers like I was dying. 8:32 and 8:37 to 15. Yes, I was slowing a bit. My hips started to hurt. I tried to relax and just run, knowing there was still a long way to go. Mile 16 was the Queensboro bridge to Manhattan. It's a long, gradual hill with no people cheering. It's a grind. I maintained a steady pace and enjoyed getting over the crest. Although the downhill hurt my quads which were already getting sore. Ugh. Mile 16 came in at 9:46 but that was due to the bridge messing up the Garmin and adding at least a tenth of a mile. I felt pretty decent as we hit First Avenue. Manhattan was great. The crowds are big, but not as many were screaming. Sometime whole sections would be quiet. And the road is wider so it is less intimate. But still pretty darn cool. Still a rock star. By now my legs were tired and my next goal was to make it to the Bronx and mile 20 without walking, hopefully staying under 9 minute pace. I figured I had a pretty good shot at my goal of 3:45 if I could just keep going. Success! 17-19 were 8:19, 8:16, 8:21 I had a friend handing out gels at mile 18 and that gave me something to think about and run for. I managed to spot him and yell at him as I went by and he gave me a gel. Every little encounter helps keep that momentum going. Often I would pull to the side to slap some hands when I needed a boost and it really helped. Hooking up with similar paced runners helps too. I formed little pacts (in my head) to stick with different runners for different sections. The bridge into the Bronx had me thinking about walking but I had latched onto a runner that was at my pace and she helped get me over that hill and to mile 20 in 8:39. Then there was one more bridge to get back to Manhattan. (The sign said Last Fucking Bridge) I was hurting but I kept running. 21-22 in 8:42 and 8:57. Stopped to walk though the water stops for the next few miles. Pain was fully on board now. Hips, quads, back (but the tooth was fine!) Then I happened to see a guy we had talked to in the start corral go by me in mile 22. We chatted briefly like old friends. Every little thing helps. It gave me a boost and kept me going. Now I knew there was a long slog of a climb at 23-24 to get to the park. I just tried to maintain a trotting pace and get through it, knowing my wife was waiting in the park at 24. Also knowing I had a decent time in the bag if I just kept moving. I took a couple short walk breaks when it got hard but got through 23-24 in 9:12 and 10:01. Did I mention the beautiful day? It was so nice. Sunny, cool, no wind. The trees in the park were beautiful with many colors. The crowds were huge. I was really enjoying myself throughout the day - happy to be there, feeling like a rock star with a million fans. Just had to repeat myself because I'm still feeling the awesomeness a week later. You should run New York. Anyway, I got to the park. Couldn't find my wife because she was on the other side of the street than I expected, and it was too loud to hear her. But she got some nice pics of me going by. I was a little deflated after missing her, but I kept on. A couple more walk breaks. 25 was 10:12. But then with only a mile to go, finish line adrenaline kicked in. I gritted my teeth and accepted the pain and got into a slightly faster pace. Turned onto the street with 1/2 mile to go. Kind of felt better and managed to cruise all the way in without walking. No cramps. No blisters. No chafing. Mile 26 was 9:25 and the last 1/4 mile was 8:50 pace as I cruised up the hill to the finish. 3:46:02 9,306th out of 52,000+ As I crossed the finish, Peter Ciaccia, the retiring race director, was right in front of me, and I got a high five and a pat on the back from him. That was cool. Then it was the long walk out. But on such a nice day, it wasn't bad at all. No shivering. I had the usual soreness, but I was happy for another successful marathon. Carissa had a rental only two blocks from the park exit, so I headed there to meet up with my wife and the others. Showered, had the first of four beers and celebrated. Later we went out with the other Loopsters for burgers and more beer. An excellent end to an excellent day.
  14. 12 points
    As you know, I race a lot. 309 road races so far to be exact. And I usually go into a race with a goal time, and a pretty good prediction of what I think I can do. Most times I come out pretty close to what I expect. But having just read this book: Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance I did some thinking about that. Am I running close to predicted times because of my knowledge and experience? Or is my prediction causing me to run that time? For example, if I predict my 5K will be 20:20 instead of 20:50, and then adjust my race strategy for that time, am I more likely to run faster? Despite my experience telling me 20:50 is what I am capable of right now? So this week I ran a Mile race on the track. The last two years I aimed for sub 6 and ran 5:52 and 5:59. This year I had convinced myself, based on many track workouts and runs with slower paces than usual, that sub-6 was out of reach. I was talking about going out at 6:20 pace with a goal of running 6:10-6:15. I considered going out at 6:00 pace to be suicidal. Race day came and one guy said he was running 6:00 pace if anyone wanted to pace off of him. (He was capable of faster). I didn't give it much thought. I would run my race and see how far away the pace group would be. So off we went and I slipped into my usual spot in the group. There was about 30 people racing, from 4:50 pace to 9 minute pace. I glanced at the Garmin after 100m and it said 6:10 pace. Yeah I got this pacing thing down. First lap was 92 and it felt perfect. Hard but manageable. The 6:00 group was about 8 people in a bunch just ahead. I maintained. Lap two I caught a few people who went out too fast. But the group was pulling away from me. I let them because this was plenty hard enough thank you. Second lap 94 for a 3:06 1/2. Lap 3 is about ignoring the pain and pushing hard not to lose momentum. A few people were falling off the pace group and I caught some which helped me stay motivated. Lots of huffing and puffing and grimacing but the end was near now. 93 for lap 3. I still felt OK and tried to find another gear and get everything I could out of the last lap. Not a whole lot left however. I caught one more guy as my legs tied up and riggy kicked in. The last straight was just surviving and trying not to stumble. I think spit was coming off my mouth and my eyes were glazed. Finished at 6:10 for a 91 last lap. So. My splits tell me I maximized my potential. I didn't have an 85 left in me. I gave everything and 6:10 was my best on this day. Or was it? What if I had gone out at 90? Could I have held on and still been able to finish strong? Or would I have died early and fallen off the pack like some of my friends? I was spent at the end. But it wasn't the worst I've ever felt. I'm sure a few more seconds could have been had. Anyway, it's fun to ponder. Still happy with the 72% age-grade. But I'm already planning to assault the mile again maybe in December. This time I will go in telling myself I can do sub-6. The body follows the brain. Back to marathon training...
  15. 12 points
    For the second time in as many days I was climbing Cardiac Hill at the worst possible time of day. The sun had reached sufficient height in the summer sky to obliterate every shady refuge on the city streets but hadn’t yet been up long enough to burn away the morning humidity. And for the second day in a row I had been too exhausted to drag my tired ass and the useless meat sticks hanging from it down to the river nice and early like I was supposed to. At the top of the hill is a CVS with automatic doors which are triggered every time someone moves past on the sidewalk in what seems like an enormous waste of energy. As I shuffled by them they swung open and I was hit with a gloriously refreshing blast of overly conditioned air, so cold against my baking skin I shivered. Why was I doing this? I had 8 more miles of this death march to go and it was only going to get hotter and my legs were only going to get heavier. Did God not grant divine inspiration to Willis Carrier so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the fires of damnation here on earth? Who the hell was I to forsake this blessing? I should have turned around at that moment in front of the CVS. Instead I shuffled onward, though unsure of why. I wasn’t wondering why I run, I long ago understood and made peace with the demons that chase me out the door each day. But this training cycle had been a disaster thus far. I hadn’t hit a workout in weeks, my easy runs were getting slower, and I felt broken down instead of built up. I was struggling with why I push myself to, well, struggle.Yes yes I know, I’m running a big marathon coming up and I need to train so I can run it in the nice round number of my choice. But time is relative. In fact, the more you are moving, the slower time passes. I’m not kidding, it’s physics, look it up. So why does the time I run this race matter? You may say “ah, aren’t you trying to qualify for Boston?” And I may well run my qualifying time and get into the race. So what? I’m not going to win, or set a record, or further human achievement in any measurable way. You may say something about joining the annals of our sport’s most prestigious and storied event. But that’s a bit of bullshit, since qualifying standards and rules have changed so many times over the years. In decades past I could have qualified with times I’ve already run, and in others I wouldn’t be close even if I hit my goal this year. There’s that relativity thing again. What about the thrill of competition? I thought about this as I dodged the already over-served hipsters wobbling on the sidewalks waiting for their Sunday brunch tables and $36 avocado toast. Sure I like to compete, but I’m not competitive. My finishing place is going to include a comma, without a doubt. I will be beat by people who trained less and brunched more. I will be beat by people older than me. I will be beat by men and women and children. I will not win any prizes or money, and in fact this endeavor will likely cost me quite a bit of it. Perhaps it’s competing with myself that matters. Bettering what I did the last time out. Squeezing every ounce of potential from the hand of genetic material I was dealt. Being the best possible version of myself. But, if my absolute best is still so far from good, why is it worth the hard work and the pain and suffering? Would it not make me feel worse to have my inadequacies and deficiencies laid so bare for all to see? And I don’t know how valuable it is to invest so much energy to be the best I can be at something which I’m not good at anyway. Abraham Lincoln supposedly loved animals. I don’t think history will lament his unrealized potential in veterinary medicine. Wouldn’t I be doing more for myself or my family or community if I put these hours of training to some other use? I ran on, envious of the brunch crowd and the people lounging in the park under the shade of giant elms and kids eating popsicles way too early in the morning. I refilled my water bottle while giving the popsicle buying parents some serious judgmental side eye for setting their kid off on the path to diabetes. Is that it? I mean, I know I could get most of the health benefits of running with some easy 6 milers, but did I think I’d get something extra from doing 800s until I puke? Would I have, like, negative diabetes or something? Nevermind, the heat must be getting to me, that’s just fucking stupid. As I wound through the park I ran over a cracked section of pavement that covered the old painted Peachtree Road Race finish line, which had dug its way out of its asphalt grave and begun to show itself again. This conjured images of the numerous races I’ve run on these paths, and I sifted through the memories for a reason why I keep running these damn things. I fondly recalled the high from setting PRs, the sense of accomplishment from completing my first race at a given distance. But I also remembered the weeks and months of skipping social events, not having a life, the aches and pains and constant exhaustion. But I felt close with this one, so I kept digging. I thought of the marathon, of that deep dark place where you’ve used up everything you have and yet still have to find something to burn. Surely there was a higher plane of consciousness attained through this effort that justified the pain. Yes I thought, recalling my marathon experiences, there is something you learn about yourself, some enlightenment obtained through this endeavor. But, would you not have the same experience regardless of how much you train? Couldn’t I prepare with a “just finish” training plan doing a bunch of slow lazy running and still see the writing on the wall? Hell, people less prepared probably suffer more on race day, wouldn’t they therefore reach a higher still level of awareness? And you know what, I’m pretty sure Timothy Leary peddled consciousness expansion for a lot less than I’m putting out for this marathon thing. I was running out of ideas as I ran out of the park and back up Peachtree Street. I passed the churches filling and emptying with worshipers. Perhaps this was the why? I grew up in an old-school fire and brimstone Catholic family, maybe I push myself through pain and exhaustion to satisfy some deeply ingrained Judeo-Christian belief that there will be salvation through suffering. Maybe ladder intervals were my attempt at self-flagellation. Mile repeats were my penance for, well, everything. Maybe I have such deep seated guilt and self loathing I need to punish myself every single day to feel worthy of even my morning coffee. This, I didn’t have an immediate rebuttal for. Not that I necessarily believe the path to eternal salvation is Yasso 800s, but I couldn’t shake the idea that I am punishing myself for something. Am I really that fragile, that broken? I turned down my street and climbed the last hill before home and I felt more lost than when I had started. But, I was still running. And Monday, I got out and ran again. And Tuesday, I struggled to not quite complete yet another interval workout. But I tried. I still didn’t know why, but I did. I’m sitting here now on my off day with a cocktail still trying to figure it out. The taste of the cheese and crackers and the whiskey I’m washing it down with take me back a few years. For a while, this was my daily routine. Tonight, I’m having 3 because it was a hairy eyed bitch of a day and then I’m going to bed. Back then, I wouldn’t really count. Or go to bed, for that matter. I’d start when I got home and finish when I passed out on the couch, The Wife usually waking me up in the middle of the night and dragging me to bed. Maybe it’s all of these things. Maybe it matters to train and push because I can, and I very nearly got to a point I couldn’t. Maybe it matters that I get to Boston because of how far it will mean I’ve come. Maybe I’m atoning for years of being a lousy husband and son and friend, if a good patron of the distilled arts. Maybe the uncertainty and suffering and exhaustion is just to keep me too tired to tilt the bottle enough to do any real damage. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ll ever know. We love how running is so often a metaphor for life, but rarely in this vein. The uncertainty and lack of purpose and wondering what the hell the point is and whether or not any of this is worth it or making any difference at all and wondering why you shouldn’t just give up. The ugly side of it all. What I do know is that at this point, the pain provides some comfort in its familiarity; it’s become part of life’s rhythm. And as long as I stay with it, there’s an illusion of control. I’m making this choice. I’m inflicting this pain, I know why it hurts, and I decide when it ends. Maybe it doesn’t make a bit of difference anywhere outside my own head. But maybe I need that. Or maybe I just need to spend time in the dark places so I appreciate the lighter ones. Tempo run Thursday. Haven’t been able to finish one strong in weeks. But scared shitless not to try.
  16. 12 points
    This blog entry is about my experience in the Donate Life 5K in Fullerton, CA, last April. It's a bit of a long story, with a slow time logged for the race. Still, I had to consider it a victory. I've been a lurker for a couple of years, and I learned 80% of what I know technically about running from The Loop. I owe you all some sharing of my experiences, but I felt I was only just beginning to become a real runner when I was diagnosed with neck cancer the summer of 2017. My petscan on January 12, 2018, showed no remaining cancer, so my treatment worked. Thank you all for sharing your experiences and insights. I got motivated and remotivated and remotivated....from reading Loop entries. I was working on a half-marathon program in the summer of 2017, and running six days a week, up to 10 miles, when I was diagnosed. I actually think all the running helped keep me relatively calm. There's a lot of fairly dramatic thoughts you can get when you get diagnosed with cancer, and I had a few of those. But, I tended to drift back to my athletic experience. I would just get up for the big game. I'd execute everything the doctors told me to the best of my ability. No moaning or groaning. Just play to win. As I was sitting around with cancer, and waiting for treatment to begin, I decided to get one last race into the books. I ran a 10K along the beach, and got into 52 minutes, which was my longtime dream goal. It's not blazing speed, but I was given an award for my age group. I had gas in the tank all the way, which makes it real fun. There were about 350 participants in the Tiki Beach 10K, and I finished in the top 15%. For old runners, I have to say frankly there's great pleasure in watching all those in their 40s, 30s and 20s finish behind me. However, I do find it funny to get the Age Group medal. I outran a bunch of old men in their 60s...how hard can that be for anyone?!?! But, as you all know, there are some fast oldsters out there. I've always enjoyed it when Loopsters describe a badass moment. It sorta felt that way in the Tiki 10K, when I was outrunning a lot of folks, knowing I had Stage IV cancer. I felt great. It was one of those magical moments when the training program had worked its voodoo, and I could summon sources of energy I never experienced before. A young woman came up to me at about Mile 5 and said, "I've been trying to catch you for the last two miles." We talked a bit. Then, I had my first glimpse of the finish line. I flipped the switch, and was pretty amazed to find I had some jets. Left her far behind. Great day running. I got through chemo pretty good (three sessions). Just some fatigue. No nauseousness, really. Radiation for neck cancer requires that they create a mask so they can secure it over your face to bolt your head to the table in order to make sure they are radiating with great precision your areas of cancer. I had it at the base of my tongue, and a lymph node or two on both sides of my neck. I got a feeding tube in preparation for the time when I couldn't eat normally due to the pain (If you ever get in this predicament, a feeding tube is no big deal). I had 33 blasts of radiation...every weekday for over six weeks. Fortunately, I maintained my ability to swallow. Although treatment was finished on October 20, 2017, you still allow for more 'burning' to take place for another week or two. Sitting around, wondering what to do next during the beginning of recovery, I just naturally thought, "I wonder when I can start running again?" Five weeks after treatment ended, I went to the local high school track and logged a quarter-mile jog just to see if I could do it. Yep. Got it done. I didn't want to push things too much, too fast, though. So, I walked. The week after my lap around the track, I walked 18 miles, two to four miles at a time. I kept it up through the beginning of January. Then, I got my petscan results saying the treatment had worked, and there was no remaining signs of cancer. That's a good day. A second shot at life. Wow. The next week, I tried to start all over again when it came to running...Couch 2 5K. For some reason, my adductor muscles were very tight and I had to stop my first day of the program. I didn't even know what these muscles were called. I had to look them up. I have no idea what the problem was. I waited a week, did some stretching, then started again. It worked. I was very slow, but I was able to keep up the program. I shaved my stomach and taped the feeding tube in place so it wasn't a problem. The treatment knocked out my saliva glands, so I have pretty severe dry mouth. I strap on a hydropack now for my runs. The treatment left me with peripheral neuropathy, so my feet are half frozen, but what the heck....beats having cancer. I wasn't quite ready to run the Donate Life 5K in April, a terrific event on behalf of organ donors. A flat course, except for one small hill, and 529 participants. My children have a friend who died young in a car crash, but her organs essentially saved the lives of several people. So, we participate in the event in honor of her. I run the 5K with my daughter. I didn't want to skip it. I was pretty sure I'd get a junk time, so that dampened my enthusiasm for the race. I planned to Galloway the race, walking for 60 seconds every half mile. Also, I figured I'd need about 220 yards of walking at about mile 2. I actually held up pretty good. The excitement of running with everybody brought me energy. I stuck to my plan, even though I was feeling pretty good at Mile 2. At the moment I crossed the finish line, I just had the feeling of getting it done. I knew my time would be bad (It ended up being 34:37. 320 overall finish. 28 out of 39 Age Group finish.). I did think that running with a feeding tube on half-frozen feet with no saliva might count as a badass moment. Then, about 30 yards past the finish line, it dawned on me: I didn't know if I'd ever run one of these ever again. This thought had never occurred to me. I didn't see it coming. I teared up, and was overtaken with a lot of emotion. Shit, man, it was so awesome just to be here again, never mind the time! I'm up to 5 miles now in my long runs. Still slow and labored. In my head, I'm the runner I was in 2017, so it's frustrating. I may be the runner I was in 2016 (when I ran my first race ever), but maybe even 2015. People regularly express their amazement that I'm out there running every day after some pretty gnarly cancer treatment. Here, in The Loop, I can't imagine any of you would have had a different response. JFR. Thank you all for inspiring me so much over the years.
  17. 12 points
    Mt. Baker - 10,781' - North Cascades, Washington July 5-8, 2018 The last scheduled training for the VetEx women's Denali team is in the books, and we are now down to six team members. We started with 12 and now we are six. Myself, Amy, Candice (team leader), Harmony (co-team leader), Shanna, and Stephanie. With each training, we've really been able to dial in the skills that they've taught us and I'm finally beginning to feel a lot more comfortable with everything. Except for carrying a really heavy pack on a steep trail. My weakness in that area was painfully apparent on this trip. Happy July 4th! Me, Amy, and Stephanie Wednesday, July 4th, myself, Amy, and Stephanie headed to Seattle on the same Southwest flight out of Denver. It was nice to fly with the two of them because I typically fly alone. There may have been some pre-flight shots involved... When we got to Seattle, we were picked up by "Coach" Nate and taken to Lake Union where they knew someone that had rented an AirBnB house-boat! We were able to hang out on the boat, have some beers and snacks, and then sit on the rooftop to see the best fireworks show I've ever seen! Later that night, we all crashed at Nate's Aunt and Uncle's house and got up early the next morning to head to the trail-head. The house-boat was super sweet with a great view of downtown Seattle It was an incredible show and those are the best fireworks pics I've ever been able to take! We stopped for breakfast (where I crushed some yummy biscuits and gravy!) and also shopped for our food for the next three days. Some of those food items where: salami and prosciutto, canned chicken, mac 'n cheese, brie, oatmeal, deli meat and cheese, crackers, trail and nut mix, hot chocolate, and Mexican rice. We also each had two Mountain House freeze-dried meals; I picked chicken and dumplings and biscuits and gravy, naturally. One final stop before we reached the trail-head was at a ranger station to pick up poop bags. These bags were just small blue plastic ones with a twisty-tie in them. We got to the trail-head and divvied out the group gear and food. By the time I squeezed everything into and on my pack, I feel that it weighted at LEAST 45 pounds. Here's list of most of what was in my pack: Clothing: top/bottom base layers (x2), top/bottom shells, puffy jacket, several pairs of thick socks, underwear, and bras; beanie, headband, Buff (x2), hat Personal Gear: Sleeping bag, mat, and pad; ice ax, crampons, trekking poles, helmet, headlamp, rope, harness, seven carabiners, three full 1L Nalgene bottles, and toiletry bag Group Gear: kitchen tent (with pole and stakes), three WhisperLite International cook stoves, one metal MSR fuel bottle, bag of six rolls of toilet paper, hand sanitizer Group/Personal Food: two Mountain House meals, oatmeal packets, hot chocolate packets, trail/nut mix bags (x3), and bag of personal snacks (four Snickers bars, Skratch, Cliff Shot bloks, jerky, bag of corn nuts, and a couple protein bars) Wow, after typing it out...that is a lot of shit! We all had pretty equal amounts of group gear/food. I had to sit down on the ground to get my pack on and then grab someone's hand to help me up! One detail about this that worried me from the beginning was having to hike to our base camp in our mountaineering boots. I rented the same La Sportiva boots (you mutherfukcers) that I used when we hiked Mt. Shavano and I knew this wasn't going to turn out well. I hadn't realized we'd be hiking the initial, non-snow covered miles in those boots. I haven't bought any mountaineering boots yet because I don't want to be stuck with something that is going to chew my feet up. It was a beautiful forest hike, but I unfortunately didn't get to enjoy it because I was dying. As per the usual for these training, I was bringing up the rear. I thought I'd see some improvement with all of the mountain running I've been doing, but nope. Not one fucking bit. I've learned that all the mountain running in the world doesn't compare anything to carrying a heavy pack on your back. Heavy pack + mountaineering boots + 2260' elevation gain over 4 miles = SUCK. I had thin sock liners and thick hiking socks on and the freaking thicker socks kept going down into my boots. Ugh. By the time we got to the top, I was feeling like I had blisters on my heels. Luckily, they just turned out to be hot spots. We set up camp, two tents with three of us in each, and took turns digging out our kitchen tent. We didn't camp on the snow this time, but was still able to find a deep enough spot to dig out our kitchen. We had a beautiful view of Mt. Baker and the surrounding North Cascade mountains. We were expecting some bad weather Friday and Saturday and knew we'd just have to wait out a window for a summit attempt. I slept pretty well Thursday night. LOVE this pic The ice is blue but you can't tell from this pic Friday, we practiced running belay in each position of the rope (front, middle, and back). Each position has their own responsibilities so it's important to know and practice them all. I was on a rope team with Candice and Stephanie, and I was put in the middle for the weekend. We also practiced self arrest with our ice axes and crevasse rescue. They found a shallow one by our camp and had us practice there. We repelled down into it and then used the Texas Kick rope method to get ourselves out. It's a pretty cool and highly effective technique! I tossed around most of the night because the wind picked up a bit and rattled the tent. I was the first to get out Saturday morning so I thought I'd start melting some snow so that we could have coffee. This was the first time I started the WhisperLite stove all by myself and I was so proud! I didn't burn down the tent! I even had the water boiling already when the first person came in We didn't have much of a plan for the day because we were hoping to get a weather report. We did, which said it would clear up halfway through the day and would also be clear all day Sunday. We had a decision to make: Leave for the summit Saturday morning and try to get back before dark; have the night to rest up and then hike out on Sunday. Leave late that night and get up to the summit just after sunrise (our best chance at a successful summit) on Sunday morning. When we got back, we'd have to pack up camp and hike out. We were worried about our drivers not getting any sleep, but still having to drive us back to Seattle. Can't even see the top! My initial vote was to complete the summit on Saturday. I just didn't like the idea of having to summit on no sleep, get back to camp and pack up, then head back to Seattle in the same day. However, when I learned that Option 2 would be our best bet, I was down. We all agreed on Option 2 so we decided to take it easy all day Saturday. We practiced knot tying in our tents and then took a nap from 2-4; I only slept about 30 minutes. We made and ate dinner, then tried to sleep more; we'd be getting up at 10pm and needed to leave by 11pm. I think I might have slept two hours, as I couldn't get my mind to shut down. The view at 10pm Even though I had my pack ready to go before we napped, it still took me forever to get situated when 11pm rolled around - that is something I definitely need to work on. No one else around base camp was stirring around their tents so we were the first ones to take off up the mountain. Shortly after takeoff, one of the ladies shouts out, "Look! Paw prints!" We later heard from some of the other climbers that we must have been the "boisterous group" that started around midnight. Oops! Starting the climb in the dark was a little scary, simply because we couldn't see everything around us, i.e. crevasses. Also, I hadn't thought to change the batteries in my headlamp, so I could barely see. I brought extras but only three - it needed four. I didn't realize how dim it was until we started climbing. Our first stop was about two miles up the mountain. I was getting pretty warm and wanted to shed a layer. I had on a t-shirt, base layer, and my waterproof, light shell jacket. I hadn't thought to unzip the sides of the jacket, and when I removed it, I was SOAKED. You could see how wet the jacket was on the inside and my base layer was completed soaked. Not good. Luckily, I had another base layer to change into and William's light puffy jacket to put on. Saved! We were all relatively quiet because we needed to be able to listen out for warnings. "Crevasse on the right!" "Crevasse step-over!" We each had to relay those warnings to the person behind us. Each position on the rope team has their own difficulties. The front has to make sure to keep a pace that isn't too fast for everyone else, and will sometimes get pulled by those behind them. The middle has to make sure not to go too fast so that the rope doesn't trip the front person. Then they also can get pulled from the front and the rear members. Being in the middle, that got really frustrating at times. You have to be focused and alert at all times. The rear has to keep the pace set by the other two and also not let the rope trip up the middle person. Do you know how hard it is to keep three people going the same pace while climbing a mountain?! Sheesh! Our team kicked some serious ass though. Go team! For a majority of the climb, we had steps to use from previous days before. When someone steps through the snow when the snow is soft, then it freezes over, it makes a nice step. However, some parts were really hard and you really had to dig your boots/crampons into the ice. My ankles were getting really sore from constantly turning them in some of the rough patches. The hardest parts where when we had to really dig our boots in or place our feet sideways where it was really steep. At one point, Nate and Scott had to put in pickets so that we could start a running belay. The intent with pickets (anchors) is to have a place to stop you if you were to start falling, rather than fall all the way down the mountain. Once you get to a picket, you clip in (or out). If you are in the middle, you must first clip in the ascending side of the rope, then unclip the descending side so that you are never completely unclipped. "Chris anchor!" "Chris clear!" I feel like I have the hang of that pretty well. About a half a mile from the summit, and on the Roman Wall, I felt like my calves were at muscle failure. Just when I thought I couldn't go any further, I gritted my teeth and kept pushing. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I knew I couldn't break down. I was feeling too stubborn to ask Candice to slow down a bit, but luckily Stephanie shouted at us to slow down. Whew! We finally reached the plateau at the top and could finally relax a bit! We had to go about a quarter mile across the plateau to get to the actual summit. It was gorgeous at the top! You could see jagged mountains for miles and the sun and clouds were beautiful. We were the first team to make it to the top, but we had another one behind us that we could finally see once we reached the summit. We took some pictures, but tried not to take too long so that we could give the small summit hill to the next team. The summit hill We didn't spend much time at the top before we headed back down. Traditional mountaineering etiquette says that those descending should give right of way to those ascending. When we reached the end of the plateau and started to descend, we could see the conga line of folks coming up. That's when we really realized what a good call we'd all made to start the climb early. Parts of the Roman Wall, we had to get off to the side and wait for others to pass us going up. Honestly, it was a nice rest break for me. I knew my feet were not going to like the decent in those boots. I typically have issues with my toes always jamming in the tips of shoes when going downhill - this was no different. The snow was still too hard to really dig our heels into so my toes were taking a beating. Glad we weren't stuck in that! We were definitely getting looks by others as we were coming down. Some of those looks appeared to be... Wow! They are coming down already? Are they all women? Those are the girls that were making all that racket last night. Can you NOT say hi to me? This sucks. Look at those bad-ass women! I'm sure there were others, but those were the obvious ones. All of the other ladies that we passed were loving us! Most of them seemed super excited to say hi. I'm not saying that we were special but we kinda were. Most of the people we passed were men. When we did pass women, they would be the only one on their rope team of 4-5. We didn't see a single other all-women rope team that day, and you certainly didn't see any leading the rope teams. There were lots of guided groups, and teams with REALLY poor/dangerous rope practices. We did pass one family that had the dad in the front, two teenage kids (boy and girl) in the middle, and the mom in the back. The mom had a ton of slack in her rope which made me nervous. Check out that snow cave! We took a long break towards the bottom so that we could eat some food. The snow was pretty hard to walk on at that point because so many people had come through, creating foot holes everywhere. I can't tell you how many times I turned my ankles or stumbled. When we got to Heliotrope Ridge, it was WARM. We were all dying in our layers but just wanted to be done. I had on a heavy, black base layer and I was roasting. This was another one of those points where I just had to keep pushing even though I wanted to stop and just lay in the snow. We finally got to our camp and it felt like the bottoms of both of my feet were just a big blister. Somehow, I didn't have a single blister but had lots of hot spots. We got back to camp around 10am, making it almost an 11 hour round trip. We hadn't slept much, hadn't eaten a real meal, and now it was time to pack up camp and hike back out. Fuuuuuuuuuck. That was the last thing any of us wanted to do, but no one complained. No one ever really complains excepts for maybe under their breath. I've definitely had points of complaining but it would just be out loud to myself - lots of groans and grunts but never any protest or resistance. I couldn't imagine hiking the four miles back to the trail-head, on tired feet and in those mountaineering boots, but I managed to do it anyway. Just when I think something is impossible, I am able to do it anyway. I told everyone that I'd have to take it at my own pace and that I'd be slow, but I finished it. I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and gorgeous trail, especially the waterfall we walked by, but I couldn't. I couldn't stop thinking about how much my feet hurt, how badly I wanted to be done, and how heavy the pack was on my already bruised hips. I definitely cried a little bit, but I think my dark sunglasses covered it. At one point Amy asked if I was ok, and I just nodded as I was sobbing. We made it back to the trail-head (which I think took about 3 hours!), packed up all our gear, and headed out. We stopped to eat pizza and have some beer, then headed out for the 2.5 hours back to Seattle. My long, tired legs being cramped up in a backseat for that long was treacherous. When we got back to Nate's aunt and uncle's house, we had to unload all the gear and separate everything out. We were all wiped the fuck out and it felt like the tasks would never end. Wiped out... I finally got a shower and crashed on the couch. I didn't feel like eating anything else so I didn't. I think I fell asleep around 10pm but then had to wake up at 3:45am to catch a Lyft to the airport for our 5:55am flight. WOWZER. It is now almost a week since the trip, and I am STILL sore. My quads and calves have been really tender and I've just been doing what I can to recover. I used some NormaTec booties at the gym on Wednesday morning, and did a shakeout 2.5 miles with Scott Jurek at my local running store (LRS) Wednesday evening. He and Jenny were at the store for a book signing! Woohoo! I have a lot of thoughts and reflections about this trip, and about being on this team, but I've decided to make that into another blog. Stay tuned... Thanks for reading, Chris
  18. 11 points
    I feel like all my posts have been full of dread and woe for months as I complained about aches and pains and slowness. Yet here I am in the midst of Monster Month, with four weeks to race day, and somehow I'm feeling energized and optimistic! Go figure. Shouldn't I be exhausted and sore and negative about now? Well, not so much. Just finished my two biggest weeks, with 54 and 51 miles. And my gimpy ankle has healed up. My balky knee still aches sometimes, but less and less. It seems the prescription for healing was More Miles. Sure I'm sore and achey after my long runs, and getting up off the couch can be difficult. But by the next day I'm able to get back out there relatively unscathed. I guess this training thing works. It helps running in perfect weather conditions. Winter training sure beats summer training. I never overheat, and don't need to worry about hydration. Enjoying the beauty around here is good for the mojo as well. I've had several great runs along the Pacific coast cliffs nearby. There are some great trails there. I got to see a whale as I went by a whale-watching spot. I also enjoyed running with hundreds of butterflies as we are in the middle of a huge butterfly migration at the moment. I can see for hundreds of miles all across the LA basin and to the snow-capped local mountains as I climb over our local hills. It's pretty great. A week ago I did my first 20-miler for this cycle, to close out a 54 mile week. I expected to be tired and just go at whatever pace worked. I ran along the flat coast virtually the whole way and just enjoyed myself. The pace gradually dropped to about 8:10-8:15 for miles 8-19, which was about as good as I had hoped for. I didn't fade until the last mile when I started to wear out. My pace is still slower than a year ago, as it has been on all my runs, but I've accepted that. Just glad to get the miles in. Last Wednesday I repeated my 4x1 mile workout, and I was able to find more speed than a few weeks ago. I managed 7:00, 7:02, 7:00 and 7:16, which beat the 7:20s I ran before. That was encouraging, although still slower than last year. And I had nothing left on the last one. But still, encouraging. Saturday I ran a very hilly 13 with a friend and the pace was decent. Then when I got back to the car I realized I had lost my key somewhere along the way. Phone was locked in the car, and friend was running home. I had little choice but to run the extra 3.8 miles home. But I still felt pretty strong after 13, and it was another beautiful day, and it was all downhill or flat...so I trotted on home and was happy to do it and log more miles. So this week is not too tough, but it finishes with a 21-miler over a huge hill that is my usual pre-marathon litmus test. If I can do that without dying too bad, then I will feel ready. Right now I feel pretty good about it. All systems are go. My Boston goal is just to have fun and break 4, but I'd like to do about 3:45 if all goes well. I know I can run about 8 minute pace for 20 miles. It's all about that last six. Long term, I'm thinking Chicago 2020 may be my next one. So to qualify to skip the lottery I need sub 3:40... So many of my friends are fighting injuries, so I'm just happy to be healthy, and getting another decent marathon done. At my age, I never know when it might be my last. Enjoy your runs. Life is good.
  19. 11 points
    The short: I love running marathons! On March 24, I finished the Wichita Chisholm Trail Marathon in 2:57:18 (6:45 average pace), placed 3rd overall female, and extended my sub-3:00 marathon streak to 7 in a row. And as always, I grew as a person during those 26.2 miles. The person who finishes a marathon is never the same person who started it! Official results are here. Requisite clock shot! The long: It's been years since I've trained for a marathon without a specific time goal that my workouts are targeted at and my mind is focused on. After I returned from 8 weeks off with an injury in October-November 2018, I had some rocky training in January and February 2019, and started to wonder if I'd ever get fit or feel strong running again. It seems like some people bounce right back from time off, but that has not been the case for me! I got in 3 solid workouts in March (details coming in my March recap), and a 20 miler and 23 miler; based on of those 5 runs I figured I was in shape to run about 6:45 pace for a marathon, although it sounds kind of ludicrous when I write it like that, because we all that 5 runs does not a solid marathon make! My main goals were to run evenly and by effort, to place as high as I could in the women's field, and to smile while doing it. Race morning brought sunny skies and 45 degrees. I was so pumped to run another marathon I could hardly contain myself and could barely sleep the night before the race due to excitement! From the gun, I had to really restrain myself not to go out too fast, which is actually rare for me. My goal for the first mile was to not run any faster than 6:50, and I hit it in exactly 6:50. That was the only time I looked at my watch during the race. I ran by feel and by the field of runners around me. I used to really micro-manage my splits in races, but I think I'm more successful when I don't monitor them. I was in 4th female from the gun. The leader went out pretty fast (I'd guess under 6:20), and I could see two women running together between the leader and me (I'd guess 6:35 for their first mile). It's hard not to chase when you're running for place and feel so good so early, but I knew it was a bad idea and that if any of them could maintain that pace I couldn't stick with them anyhow, and I wouldn't get the best out of myself if I tried. My top marathon advice: always, always, ALWAYS go out slower than the pace you hope to average. No one ever won a marathon in the first 10K, but many have lost them! After the field thinned out I found myself running with a man, Leroy, who I've done some training with when visiting my parents for holidays. We ran side by side and caught up a little from mile 1 until almost 6. He'd recently dealt with an injury as well, and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the race. Around mile 6 he told me he was going to drop back a bit, and I was eyeing the two ladies in front of me, so I focused on gradually pulling them in. Miles 2-6 were 6:47, 6:54 (incline), 6:46, 6:45, 6:41, and my 10K course split was 42:04. There was a clock on the course at the 10K, so I saw my split but I wasn't sure what pace that was, aside from sub-7:00. With Leroy around mile 5 I was passing quite a few half marathon runners, including the 1:30 pace group, and feeling good. I was dying to reel in the two women in my sights, but told myself to be patient and not accelerate just to catch them so early in the race. I decided to try to pull up on them gradually, and then fall into pace with them. The female leader was so far ahead I didn't think catching her was realistic, so I figured those two were my biggest competition. Miles 7-10 were 6:38, 6:48, 6:41, 6:44. I pulled up with the ladies and a man who'd been running with them (who I had also met at the start through a mutual friend, so I knew he was Victor who was aiming for 2:58). The women asked if I was another half runner, since a couple had just gone by them, and I told them I was in the full as I settled in with them. I recognized one of the women as Jalayne, a friend of my friend Amber. Amber had mentioned Jalayne to me after I ran against Jalayne in the Bill Snyder half last year, and again mentioned that Jalayne was running this marathon. Since I'd only beat her by about 40 seconds at Bill Snyder, I knew she would be tough to beat in this race because I was nowhere nearly as fit currently. I am generally really good at gauging what I have to give, and the pace we were at felt sustainable for 26.2, plus having a group to run with usually helps me run faster. Miles 11-13 were 6:35 (decline), 6:53, 6:50, and my course half split was 1:28:26. Like at the 10K, there was a course clock, so I knew my half split and figured I was on track for a high 2:56 or low 2:57, which I was happy about because as much as I tried to push it out of my mind, I wanted to keep my sub-3:00 streak alive and knew it could go either way in this one! Julie, guy in blue I didn't know was there, Jalayne, me, Victor I nearly died laughing at this picture because all 4 of us look like we are in terrible pain (this was just before the half, so we weren't) Jalayne and I officially introduced ourselves, and I met the other women in the group, Julie. Julie and Jalayne said they had been training together like crazy for 20 weeks for a 2:55 marathon, and learning that wasn't exactly confidence-boosting when I considered that they started their training cycle when I wasn't running at all. But, I was running within myself and hoped I could draw on my mileage and past experience to make up for my shortage of workouts and long long runs. I stayed with Jalayne, Julie, and Victor, and around mile 15 another man named Damien joined us. It was great having a group to run with, especially because the last time I ran a marathon in Wichita it was essentially a time trial from the 10K to the end! Miles 14-18 were 6:41, 6:49, 7:02 (incline), 6:42, 6:37. I could tell that Jalayne and Damien were both feeling really good, and the three of us were pushing the pace a bit, while Julie and Victor didn't seem as perky. Damien pushed ahead slightly just before mile 18, and I told myself to go with him, putting myself into second place female. My family was cheering on the course around that time, and told me that the leader had about 1:30 on me but she looked like she was really hurting. Mile 19 was 6:31 and my course split at 19.1 was 2:08:50 (random, but it was a two lap course of a big rectangle, so it had been the 10K timing mat on the first lap). Damien taking off with me trying to follow around 18 Just before mile 20 we turned west into the wind for the final 10K. On the first lap the wind hadn't been too bad, but it had picked up a lot during the race. The only drawback of straight marathon courses is the potential for long stretches against the wind. I tried to draft off Damien, but he was feeling really good and I couldn't hang on (I later saw on Strava that he ran his final 5 miles between 6:05-6:20 pace and finished in 2:54!). Being out there solo after having others to run with for so long was tough, but I kept reminding myself that anything can happen at the end of the marathon and if the leader was really struggling I might be able to catch her. I also knew that the other women could very well come back for me. Miles 20-22 were 6:45, 6:56, 6:47. Around mile 22-23 I really started to feel my shortage of workouts and really long runs. Around 18-20 I thought I'd have a lot left and really be able to throw down the final 10K, but by 22 I was having much more trouble getting my legs to keep turning over. I think my endurance is really good from all of the easy mileage I ran, but there is certainly a reason you need both mileage and workouts! I knew that keeping on to the finish wouldn't be a problem, but my legs sure wanted to slow down, and the headwind wasn't helping. Spectators kept telling me that I looked stronger than the leader and to "go get her", and at mile 20 I was really working on that, but by mile 23 I was just trying to hang on. Miles 23-25 were 6:53, 6:44, 7:07, although they felt like about 9:00 pace, as per usual at that point in a marathon. Just after I passed 25 I heard someone coming up behind me and just hoped it was a man, because I didn't feel confident about a fast final mile. It wasn't a man, it was Jaylane. She pulled up next to me and we encouraged each other, and then ran side by side for a half mile or so. Her training consistency trumped my "unique" cycle, and as I fought with all I had she pulled away. By the time we were nearing the 26 mile mark, I knew she had me, although I didn't give up because anything can happen. I couldn't will my legs to go any faster but I gave it my all! Mile 26 was 6:58 and my final kick was 6:19. You can barely see me, but I love my parents taking pictures/videos and Albani standing on the course! The announcer called my name as the third female finisher, after announcing Jalayne in second. I stumbled through the finishing chute ecstatic to be comfortably under 3:00 after all I've been through in the past 6 months, but of course wishing I would have had a little more to hold onto 2nd, or a 6:30ish pace final 10K to take over 1st, who finished in 2:55:59. I'm not there yet, but I'm closer than I was! Before the race, one of my friends was considering pacing me (which did not work out), and he asked what pace I thought I'd run. I told him 6:45, and low and behold I ran exactly 6:45 pace per the course! I was almost more excited about my accurate prediction than the actual marathon! Post-race I found my family, was interviewed by the local news station (clip can be seen here - my dad and I are each in it twice!), and attended the overall awards ceremony. Media tent I'd like to thank Goodr sunglasses for hiding my face as much as possible! I had a wonderful experience and plan to write more about the event and my post-race thoughts soon! Not long ago I did not think that I'd be able to run this marathon at all, and even a month ago I sure didn't think I'd be able to run it at 6:45 pace. We make plans, then God makes better ones, right? "Run in such a way as to get the prize." - 1 Corinthians 9:24b Family shot/Albani's distracted I couldn't do any of it without him! My mom bought Albani this shirt & I love it! 3 x sub-3s Official results & course splits It's not every day you cover 30 miles on foot!
  20. 11 points
    From Monday: Most days, running has been going very, very well. I’m hitting paces I dared not to dream possible in some of my workouts and I’m enjoying seeing all the puzzle pieces come together. Had it not been for the injury, I think I would have just expected things to always be linear and smooth in the next phase of buildup. But having that time off really makes me appreciate seeing the ins and outs of a training block. For instance, yesterday (Sunday) was complete garbage on my body. My legs actually felt reasonably good after 4 hours and 3500’ of gain on Saturday. But I just felt ragged yesterday. Out of breath. Heart rate jumping. Just slogging through the run. The crazy puppies and fun humans made it tolerable. And then I think about what I am asking my body to do and it’s pretty miraculous. I asked it to do 2 hard track workouts this week. My 4-minute speed sessions were sub-6 and my 8 minute speed sessions were 6:26 & 6:12. Plus, I ran for 4 hours in the freezing rain on Saturday. So yeah, it’s okay to be tired. That’s what I’m training for. I look back on my very detailed notes and am glad I kept honest throughout the process. Because this past week, I had a flare up of shin soreness and started to panic. Did I re-injure myself? Is this the old injury that hasn’t quite healed? Is this a new injury and I’m doomed? I read and re-read my notes. I see I still had random foot pain almost 10 months after the initial problem. Knocks-on-wood, I haven’t felt ANY foot pain since October. Not a peep. I try to remember the wisdom of the doctor and explaining that it was likely I could feel pain upwards of a year at various intervals and while, yes, it could point to something bad, it often is the bone going through various healing points. Add that to the fact that cold weather and lower barometric pressure causes actual physiological changes, and well, here we are folks. It was after the 2 speed sessions that I felt the most soreness. I did a little bit of rolling with the stick and some self-massage with neuropathy salve. I’m not sure if it did much of anything. But I woke up Saturday raring to go on the trails and it didn’t seem to bother me one bit on Saturday afternoon or evening. Same thing Sunday? It seems odd to me that the force of a combined 32 total minutes of speed work during the week (16 minutes each on Tuesday/Thursday) would be more aggravating that a hilly AF trail run for 4 hours. But maybe not? In any case, it seems to be perfectly fine today. And it’s a rest day so I’m happily giving all my bones, muscles, & joints a break. I’m learning to run my easy runs a little easier. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s part of training. When I think about when it gets hard or I’m starting to waver mentally, I reel it back in with the notion that I can do hard things. I want to do hard things. I want to get uncomfortable. There is a huge difference between actual injury pain and just being uncomfortable. We spend most our lives in comfort. Heating & air-conditioning. Full bellies. Overstuffed chairs. For millennia, we survived as a species without these things. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my creature comforts. But, I do think that there is some merit in the primal feeling of scraping the bottom of your physical ability. When I think about those track sessions that I loathe so much. It’s because they are hard. But they are hard mentally for me. I feel the pain in my legs and lungs and everything says, hey, dummy, just stop. Or slow down. But if I tune out that little negative voice and let my legs do the work, it’s kind of astonishing how much you can push through. I like to think about those Survivor challenges where endurance is the gold standard of winning. If you can do X for the longest, you win. And at what point do you allow your body to give up? Few of us get to where we crawl across the finish line. What can your body do if you think you can do it? It took me over 4 years to go from a 4+ hour marathon to a BQ. And once I broke that barrier, I have had 2 races that I haven’t hit that goal (when I was attempting to). The power of knowing I can is the driving force behind my ability. Every time I notch another hole in that belt, I set my own precedence.
  21. 11 points
    The Park’s hours officially extend to 11pm, but it may as well be closed by the time I turn onto the paved trail along its perimeter. It’s dark, and while the polar vortex has yet to reach this far south the 37 degree temperature has the same effect on Atlantans that -50 has on Minnesotans. I pass a few people walking dogs or using the pathway as a cut through on their walks home from work, but I know as I leave the perimeter and venture deeper into the Park, I will be alone. My pace quickens at the thought. As the path winds its way into the Park’s interior, the noise of the city fades. I run along the edge of The Meadow, a wide grass field at the southeastern corner, and look west towards the Midtown skyline. There are few lights in the Park and a gust of cold wind has my eyes tearing just enough to make the bright windows of the high rises dot the black horizon like an earthbound star field. I know they are actually the offices of clients or colleagues and homes where people are enduring the mundanities of life: making dinner, paying bills, negotiating how many more bites of dinner are needed to earn dessert. But for now all that may as well be as distant as the stars. This is my time in the quiet darkness of the Park. I make my way deeper into the Park, past the urban garden and near the dog runs, and the isolation becomes almost a physical sensation. The sudden absence of people, noise, light, and even somehow the cold wind leaves a palpable sort of empty white noise hanging in the air. It’s just me and the trail. I weave my way along the path and it suddenly smells like I’m in the middle of a pine forest. I decide if I’m having a stroke no one will find me until morning and at least I’ll be going out happy, but then I see the source of the smell. It dawns on me that the piles of fresh mulch were just a month ago Christmas trees, and images of revelry under colorful lights and tinsel and mistletoe flashed through my mind. What didn’t was the argument between the cousin who whipped out his red hat at dinner and sat next to the cousin who dressed up as Rachel Maddow for Halloween. Or the aunt who asked her gay nephew if the holy water burned his fingers as they walked into midnight mass. Or the arguments over money or not calling enough or when are you having kids. Those were all ground away by the wood chippers; the lingering scent was too light to carry the weight of those memories to these depths of the Park. I looped around the Active Oval, the gravel 800 meter-ish track which rings the usually packed soccer and softball fields. By now my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and I could clearly see the freezing puddles which in the day I am too distracted to avoid. I listened to the rhythm of my breathing and the jazzy percussion of my footfalls crunching along the track and how it, instead of the din of the fields, echoed off the stone stairs as I ran by. It’s a strange feeling to be so isolated in such an expansive place. You expect there to be people, to feel the buzz of activity all around you. You expect to be surrounded by all those things that are part of modern life, and then feel liberated by what you can see and hear and think in their absence. Tonight it is my Park. All the noises, all the thoughts, all the actions that fill this vast place are mine and mine alone. By me, and for me. The blaring horn of the car running the red light and barreling into the same crosswalk I was using to reenter the city shattered my peace so abruptly I thought I might get the bends. The driver had the gall to scream at me for flipping them off as I stood there blocking their transgression, my profane gesture apparently more offensive to them than vehicular manslaughter. But hey, the world is full of idiots and assholes. Sometimes I’m even one of them. Most days I can deal with it just fine. When I can’t, I know I have the Park.
  22. 11 points
    Pre-race After conferring with my coach weeks ago, we decided that the Mountain Mist 50k would be the best option for me to meet the required qualification for the Georgia Death Race - a 50k trail race in the last calendar year. The elevation and technicality would be a great tune-up and a chance for me to test gear and nutrition. Though I could have driven the 3.5 hour drive, gaining an hour crossing into Central Time, I opted to camp overnight at Monte Sano State Park. I left work at 2pm Friday to make it in time before sunset and was treated to a very beautiful drive through the tiny mountain towns of northwest Georgia/northeast Alabama. At the park, I went straight to the camp host to check in and got both a dinner recommendation and directions to the race start (more on that later). I blindly picked the camp site online and chose a spot that was nearest to the restrooms. My good fortune meant I was treated to a beautiful view of Huntsville and I arrived just at sunset. I made a quick call to Adam and then changed into running gear for a 2 mile shakeout run around the campground. I watched the big orange thing dip below the horizon and then headed out to packet pickup (at the lodge) and to grab dinner. I was a little worried about the camp host's recommendation at first. I had asked for a place that served pizza and beer and he asked if Italian would be okay. He explained they didn't really have many items with red sauce and yeah, they have some beer. I was picturing loads of fettuccine alfredo with goopy white cream sauce and reminded of when Michael Scott carbo-loads before the "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure"5K and promptly vomits. But, the pizza was seriously some of the best I have ever had and the beer selection, while not vast, was a nicely culled collection of local favorites (re: Huntsville IPAs) and national specialties (Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout). I always like to err on the side of being really full before a race, especially an ultra, so I loaded up on a donut hole-esque dessert. Also, I just like donuts. I stopped at a gas station on the way back to fill up my tank, get some cold brew coffee, and a back-up muffin in case there was some tragedy with my overnight oats. Back at camp, I settled into my 0° rated sleeping bag (Everest testing), read a little of David Goggins "Can't Hurt Me", and fell asleep before 10pm. The sleeping bag was beyond warm enough in the 20°-ish degree weather. I actually woke up at one point and had to crawl out of it because I was too warm. The alarm went off at 6:20am and while I was cozy, I was also ready to get the show going. I changed in the warm bathroom and ate my oats. Just after 7am, I headed to the race start. I double-checked the map and walked about 5 minutes before I realized the trail was not terribly discernible in the winter and panicked that I might be late to the race. I turned around and decided to take my chances to drive up to the lodge. Again, I totally lucked out and parked just outside the entrance on the side of the road with just enough time to stand around and get cold before the start. Race morning I lined up in the first third of the pack behind the start line. In reading race reports and talking to runners who had raced it, I knew the first 20 miles were pretty runnable and the last 11 or so were tough. This was supposed to be a training run of sorts (though we all know I'm competitive so it's not like I wasn't going to give it my best effort) and I really wanted to just stay relaxed as much as possible. The first mile was pavement and I was far from warmed up. Everything felt stiff and stagnant and I was annoyed that despite taking it relatively easy, it felt awkward. We hit the fire road and things started to get a little better with softer footing and I tried to just stay with the little packs around me, only passing if necessary in this point. I didn't want to get stuck too far behind once we got to the single track. People were not really talking much around me at this point, which in retrospect, I guess I was closer to the front of the pack than I thought initially. By the time we reached the single track section and through the first aid station at mile 6.7, I just tried to stay as comfortable as possible. Any time I thought I wanted to pass someone, I gave it an extra minute or two. It's so easy to push in the beginning, but I didn't want to feel like garbage at the end. The course in this section was moderately muddy - bad in some sections, but there was definitely very runnable spots and I did feel like we did a lot of downhill running. There was some switching around of people at the aid stations as some people stopped for a bit longer. I grabbed a cup of Gatorade, a single pretzel, and kept right on moving. At this point, I was behind 3 females who were bombing the downhills pretty efficiently and I decided to stay in tow. Once we got into the section I would dub the "Power Line Field", I was relaxed and just enjoying listening to their chatter back and forth about various things. Once we reached the first climb, dubbed "K2", one of the girls jetted up ahead and while I was tempted to pursue her, I knew it was too early to get caught up in competition. I knew my skills lied in power hiking ups and I'd wait until the final 2 climbs to put on the afterburners. We still had 20+ miles to go. At the 11.9 mile aid station, I grabbed a cup of Mello Yello and filled up my water flask. I went trotting off down the trail and a few minutes past the aid station, full on Supermanned going up a tiny hill. Apparently I hit the ground with enough impact that runners in both directions asked if I was okay. Yes, yes, just a little blood mixed with hurt pride. My bib completely ripped off and I had to take a few extra seconds to pin it back on. But, once I was back on the trail, I started to feel great! It was like the fall had woken me up. The next section had a short little climb that led up to a section called "Stone Cuts". Giant slabs of stone with a trail that meanders through them. Runners had to squeeze through narrow cuts and limbo underneath low cave-like areas. It was really, really cool and despite the slowdown, it was pretty awesome to be "running" through natural wonders. From prior race reports, I learned that if you doubled your time at he mile 17 aid station, that would be the approximate time you could expect for the race. I came in just shy of 3 hours and was then just hoping to hold onto 6 hours. I was feeling a bit peppier in the next section and happy that there was finally a break to run without being so bunched up for a bit. There was a swift little descent full of rocks and then a bunch of muddy trail at the bottom before reaching the aid station just past mile 20. I was tempted to take a shot of Fireball at this aid station, but nothing was going inherently good or bad so I decided to stay with the status quo of Mello Yellow. The next section was the infamous Railroad Trail, a rocky nightmare of a trail. The only saving grace is that it was relatively flat for a couple of miles, but it seems as though I couldn't get much more speed because the footing was terrible. I got behind a group of guys who were talking like it was the first few miles of the race and let them lead the pack up the Bluffline Trail and the ridiculousness of the Waterline Trail. It is in this section that you use all 4 points of contact to hoist yourself over slippery rocks along a waterfall. Fortunately, I was still feeling spry at this point and my flexibility is fairly decent so I had no trouble with this section. I was laughing at how crazy it was, but I was actually having fun bouldering over rocks. Check out the runners in the top right of the photo below! Photo credit: Andy Highsmith At the top of the climb (sweet relief!), I took off down the Bluffline Trail and started to try to make up some time. I wasn't moving super fast, but I was passing a bunch of runners who had gassed out near the 24-25 mile mark. Once we reached the next descent, I started running with John and he nicely explained the final sections and what to expect. The mud was incredibly thick in the flattish section near the water and my tired legs were exhausted by the repeated pull of the muck. I was actually grateful for the climb as it was drier and I could actually gain footing. We didn't even stop at the last aid station and I noted there was 1.6 miles to go. Glancing at my watch, I saw it was about 5:40:XX. If the aid station sign was correct, I could still slip under 6 hours. Luckily, the trail was pretty flat and runnable at this point and while I didn't have a sense of how far we were, I started to see more hikers out walking their dogs - a sure sign we were closer to the trailhead. John was dealing with a side stitch and urged me to go on when stopped to walk. I stayed with him the first time and we started running again, but then I heeded his advice when stopped again and pushed for the finish solo. I heard the music of the finish line first and then I spotted the arch as I came around the final bend. I crossed in 5:55:42 according to Garmin. I stepped off to the side and waited to see John finish, giving him a huge high five as he also made it under 6 hours. Eventually, I headed indoors for the warmth and to grab my finisher's slate and age group award, a backpack. Takeaways: Food/Hydration: B Throughout the race, I ate 2 RX bars, 2 Spring energy gels, and a GU that I picked up from an aid station. I had 1 pretzel rod, 1 Oreo, and an orange slice. My hydration was mostly water, but I also took 1 cup of Gatorade and 2 cups of Mello Yello. The cooler weather made hydration a bit trickier and I think I should carry something with a bit of electrolytes like Nuun or Tailwind for GDR. I was definitely cramping post-race and it took a couple of cups of Sprite and food for it to stop. Also, I could have done a better job hydrating the day before. I avoided it because of the road trip and I think I started the day a bit dehydrated. Gear: C My bladder in my Camelpack was not secured in some sort of way so I was slowly leaking water for the first couple of miles in the beginning of the race. I think I didn't have the cap seal on flush and it sloshed out from the top. I still was able to drink from it through about 10-12 miles, but then it was just extra weight. I think I'd prefer to just rely on flasks as they are easier to fill. Plus, for some reason, the hose across my chest was SO ANNOYING. To be fair, I kept thinking it was good that my hose was annoying me and not physical pain. But I am going to have to mitigate those minor annoyances. Half capris were a good choice, probably should have just done a t-shirt and arm warmers. I really only needed gloves for the first couple of miles. Hoka Torrents proved successful on the mud, rocks, and gnarly trail. I have zero blisters and my Swiftwick socks were a great choice - despite me blowing a hole through the toe of one of them. Physical Training: A I'm officially in week 5 of my coached training and because this was a training race, I didn't have a true taper. In fact, I just came off my biggest true mileage week in over a year and ran 5 days leading up to the race, including a speed session on Tuesday. So while I am bit disappointed in my time for the race (I was hoping for 5:30 or so), I have to keep in perspective that I was not running on fresh legs and this was not the goal race. I ran a really patient race and fortunately felt the best at the end. Mental Training: A+ I never hit really high highs or really low lows in this race. The points that I wasn't feeling great really were just when I wasn't pushing on the gas pedal. And while I do love the endorphin rush of the high highs, I think it's actually better that things were just really steady-eddy. The course and the conditions of the trail could have beat me up, but I kept telling myself when it got tough that I like doing hard things.
  23. 11 points
    "Hey Christine." "Yeah?" "Do you remember those shirts I said we should've made?" I thought back to our jokes over text message about making shirts with just a big poop emoji. It's for running AND babies! we'd lol-ed. Equally adaptable! "Yeah." "Now would be a good time to have them." I looked back at E over my right shoulder, huffing away behind her jogging stroller with infant car seat adapter, said car seat and said infant both securely attached. I made a face. "Almost there," I said uselessly. The night before the race was strange. Even though DH made a big deal about me signing up for a 5 miler as my very first race back, I was way more worried about if BL (baby L) was going to be ok. So what if I hadn't run 5 miles yet? So what if I'd been sick for the whole week before? SO WHAT? 5 miles is nothing. 5 miles is... "Oh-my-god-I'm-dying," I panted as I pushed the 8 million ton stroller up a steep incline. "I wish I trained more." "I skipped way too many Sunday runs," E agreed. "I only did like, four?" I stayed silent as I tallied up the Sunday runs I had done in my head. It didn't take very long because I didn't have far to count. The number was, surprise surprise, zero. BL saw a seagull for the first time and did her little stiff bodied excited noise. She was suspicious about touching the beach sand. There was no porta potty line. All in all, a good pre-race situation. Once it was time to line up, we ambled over to the start and took some photos in Superman poses. Maybe we should warm up, we said, and did some half-hearted squats. E jogged in place. I took selfies with BL. At the start, the RD had a portable microphone and an air horn. "I hope the air horn works!" she said. "I hope it doesn't," E whispered to me. I started to feel better at mile 3. It was because I was finally warmed up, NOT because the race turned from north back south, toward the water, downhill. Nope, definitely not that. There were a couple intense looking older guys with double strollers who I ignored as they were clearly superhuman mutants... but there was one regular stroller couple who were taking turns pushing it. Cheating, basically. Their son was older and when he saw E and I draw close at a water stop, he said, "Daddy! Go faster so we win! Don't let them win!" You just sealed your fate, kid, I silently scoffed. Only 50 yards ahead of us with a mile and a half to go, we closed the gap. Stroller Lady heard me breathing (really hard) behind her left shoulder. She turned to look, startled a little bit, and sprinted ahead for a few steps before slowing back down. Ha! I got you now! Her son peered around the edge of the stroller, fear in his eyes. The requisite child cheer section appeared around the corner. As we approached, I held my hand out for slaps while saying, "Watch-out-watch-out-watch-out!" There's only so much I would be able to do if excitable Timmy decided to jump out in front of me. They were by in a blur. Then, the last water station and we skipped it, duh. It wasn't going to help now. I really, really wanted to slow down but I could hear the finish line speakers blaring "Another One Bites the Dust," which was honestly a pretty bad song to be playing at a race finish line. I passed DH taking photos, tried to smile, then made the hairpin turn into the parking lot - which took a lot more muscle than I was expecting - and finally done. Gasping. I high-fived E, who was looking way more composed than I felt. "Great job!" she cheered. "Hrnghurrr," I said. The stroller immediately became a thing to lean on and catch my breath. DH caught up with us and took over for a bit. "How'd you do?" he asked. I showed him my watch. 5 miles in 49:06, just under a 10 minute pace. "Nice," he said. E came over and said she had to go but she had Fridays off for the next few weeks and did we want to run together next week? "The usual time?" I said. "Sure."
  24. 11 points
    In the spring Loco Races decided to buy the Vermont 100 on 100. Ugh. I mean great...I suppose. If the race was cancelled I didn't have to decide whether or not my body was ready to run 15+ miles. And then Loco comes along and saves the day. I managed to not sign up for the relay the 1st time jschneid announced that he was putting together a team. Jschneid = Christine's friend who saved me at the last minute last year by replacing me and my f'd up hamstring. Since last year jschneid and KRG have become best friends/running buddies. Anyway all was good until Pat (applepie's friend) had to drop from the relay. I was feeling really great at that point and quickly took the empty spot. I was probably a little too enthusiastic to get into race shape. One night at track on the last 200 i felt something pop/pull/hurt. What the hell's with all the 200s anyway? The pop/pull wasn't major but enough to make me pull the reigns way back. KRG said AtomBuddy was going to be in NYC and would be running the NYRR 7 miles at the beginning of August. I decided if he can travel from California to run a race in NYC then I could travel from NJ to run my 1st race in Central Park. I met KRG and jschneid at bag drop. I couldn't believe how easy it was to find these guys at an NYRR event! Next we walked over to the start and there was AB right in front of us. It was hotter than hot and the air was thicker than thick. I decided to just run it by feel and really didn't care about pace. KRG and JS warned me about the hills. I really enjoyed the race and the and the sights. Bathroom break at mile 4. We went out for brunch after the race. I got to meet Mrs. AB and little AB (who's taller than AB) I added some miles on later that day to simulate race day. No bueno. My hamstring/piriformis/it band was a big ole hunk a'junk of searing pain. Sigh. I knew I had about 2 weeks to get my schizzle together. Thankfully we were on a cross country vacation for most of those 2 weeks. We visited my son in Dea Moines, Iowa. He and I ran 6 miles together because he signed up for the Des Moines Marathon. Love this kid! Miss his smile and humor every day. The Iowa State Fair was happening while we were there. So cute!! We went to concerts on 2 nights. Saw Chris Daughtry and the Brothers Osborne. Both incredible! I love concerts! After visiting my son and his wife we flew to San Diego. I made plans to run with Dr. Whiskers but sadly she had a family emergency. My husband pretty much let me decide our itinerary while I was there for the 2 days. (He was staying longer for a conference.) I was like First we went to Torrey Pines along the Pacific. We hit every trail except one. I was in heaven! Does it get any better than this? That night my husband and I went to dinner and asked for recommendations for a hike the next day. The bartender recommended Iron Mountain. The start of the hike is very deceiving. That's the only part that is flat! We climbed a 1000 feet to the the top of the mountain. Seriously you guys I didn't love San Diego but I'd move for the surrounding mountains. I'd climb a new one every dayum day!! I flew back Thursday and drove to Vermont on Friday! My body had no idea what time zone it was in! I picked up KRG, jschneid and Deanna at the Newark train station and headed for Vermont. Applepie and Slow_running met us there. We carb loaded like champs. In a freak state of summer the weather gods sent us a high of 64* for the relay. I decided I should take a look at my elevation profiles for my legs since jschneid wouldn't return my epic downhill legs. Harumph!! For my 1st leg Slow_running told me I'd be running the bowl. I thought that 1st down and then up was the bowl....until I got to the 2nd down and up. OMFG! I managed one code Abby and a pace of roughly 9:40 for my 1st leg. The usual waterfall photo My 2nd leg was pretty much flat but really cambered. Applepie asked what I needed on that leg when I was 1/2 way through. I told him a flat road. My left hamstring/it band can't stand a downward slope. I was in so much pain. Roughly 9:30s. Jschneid snapped a couple pix of me after this leg but told me none of them are really of me smiling. Just the pain bleeding through. My favorite sign from the race: I had one more leg to get done. I was the last runner for our team - the "hero." I wanted this leg because I was always so jealous of S_R running in the dark on the dirt roads. All the twinkling lights of the other runners bopping along the road. I warned my team I had no idea what pace I'd be running since I was in so much pain on leg 2. I had slathered Biofreeze everywhere and taken 2 Advil. Simply magic! S_R handed off to me and I took off into the dark. My leg felt the best it had all day. I ran on the dirt roads, clicking off more kills than I had all day! I ran the flats and downs and walked some of the ups. As I came into Okemo I couldn't believe my 3rd leg was the fastest of the day at 9:20s! My team was waiting for me and we all ran across the finish line! We placed 100th in the Vermont 100 on 100! And I'm sure we placed 1st in the cheering department. Cheers! So Loopfest 2019 is at the Vermont 100 on 100. I signed up a team and we already have 8 of the 6 spots filled.... So are you brave enough to join us? Requirements are being able to ring a cowbell and run up the side of a ski mountain in an ice cream costume. Let me know!
  25. 11 points
    Hi Loopsters! Only nine weeks left before New York City! I guess I better get serious about marathon training. Actually, the running has been going pretty well. My nagging injuries still nag a little, but not as loudly as before. They aren't going away, but the increased mileage isn't making it worse, so that's good. Still a tight right buttock and a wonky left knee, but they're both kind of fading. The bigger problem has been heat. Not a fan of marathon training in August! Although I can't really complain living here in runner paradise, our weather has been warmer than usual, and we've had a little humidity too. Seems like all my runs feel tough - I'm not getting the paces I'm used to for the same effort. I prefer to blame the heat rather than my increasing age. Still hoping cooler Fall weather will help. But at this point my goals are modest. I have a half marathon in Long Beach in 5 weeks. Plan to race it, but maybe I'll go out conservatively and hope for a strong finish. It worked in Arizona. Anything under 1:40 would make me happy now. As for New York - boy - I'm still at the point where 26 miles seems AWFULLY far. I did 15 last week, and was pretty beat at the end (it was warm). Just hoping to enjoy the experience, try to control myself, and not bonk too hard. Hopefully sub-4. Last week I spent a week in North Carolina visiting my parents. I managed to get three runs in (6.5, 9.8, 6.7) but each was a struggle. Yes, it was warm and humid. And yes, I'm going to blame 2,100 feet of elevation for having some effect. I was reading the book Endure, and he coincidentally talked about 2,000 feet of elevation having an effect on race times, so I'm taking it. I got back Friday afternoon and Saturday morning I did about 12 miles (at sea level) and felt pretty good! Mojo returned. Then I followed it up Sunday morning with 12 more, expecting tired legs, but felt surprisingly fresh and ran pretty well for about ten miles. Bonked a bit at the end. But you know, hot... Took Monday off and did 8.3 Tuesday and again felt strong. So I guess the training is working. Just gotta trust the process and hope for cool weather. Tonight is track night and I have 16 on Friday morning. Then Sunday is our track group's annual mile race. I'll do my best, but I feel like sub 6:00 is very doubtful this year. My track times just have not been up to par. I'll probably go out about 6:20 pace and see what I can do. Then there's the beer mile, but I don't feel the need to do THAT again. Once was enough I think. What else...Well I'm currently bingeing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon and it's really good. And we're going to see the Carole King musical, Beautiful, in a few weeks. And my wife donated a kidney.
  26. 11 points
    Years ago on Loopville, someone (I think it was Corc) posted a link to an article written by Lauren Fleshman. It was about the difference between male and female runners/athletes and accepting that difference. I thought of that article again this weekend. Read it here! https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20793927/i-run-like-a-girl/ It's not just insightful and interesting, it's hilarious. Seriously. Stop reading my bloop right now and go read it and then come back (or not). And I remembered that article and looked it up because I ran my worst 5k in four years, and instead of pacing my RB- who is male and who was running his first 5k- as planned, I got paced by him. And vastly outrun. HIS FIRST. But it was still a great evening, for so many reasons. As much as I prefer morning races, I also work almost every Saturday from 8:30-1, so I miss out on most local 5ks/10ks. The Chase is a small, local 5k that benefits the XC program of a local school and draws out most of the runners here in little Harborcreek. And it's on a Friday night. I love this race because there are so many people I know who show up to run it, either local runners I’m already connected to or customers at the bank here in town where I work. Every 10 feet I was stopping and talking to people… Rod, Jim, Karen, another Karen, Desiree, Dan from Erie and his best friend also named Dan, from Buffalo, Bill who I see at the bank, the RDs husband who is also a bank customer, Juliann, Christina, Tom, Andrew… seriously, I know half the field here! And my baby girl was running it, too! Unlike last summer, when Jules and I trained 2-3 times a week, training for her kinda fell by the wayside this season. Mostly because I was not feeling running all that much, thus it was hard to translate joy for it to my kiddo. And also because she was playing soccer all season and doing quite a bit running even though it wasn’t specific run-training. About 5 days before the race, she decided that, yes, she wants to run it! We did two 2 mile runs in which she ran between 10:00 and 10:30 pace and I figured hey, if she can run 2 miles she can run 3, right? My RB C. -remember him from that 10k RR early this year- was also running the 5k, his first. Now, C. has been busy with work and coaching our church softball team (which my husband is on) and being a single parent and hasn’t been able to run much. Like, once or twice a week. I haven’t been running much but I’ve been running a little more than that. And I ran a marathon just—oh crap, that was 2 months ago already? Okay, forget all the training benefits of that. Anyway, I’ve been running more than him. I should be faster. So I’ll pace him, right? That takes the pressure off me to have to race it, and it’ll be more fun pacing anyway. RIGHT???!! It’ll be more fun, she says. 🤣 Jules was raring to go 45 minutes before the race and completely confident of her ability to run this whole race without stopping. Despite having run very little lately (besides soccer), thus being the least 5k-trained of the three of us. Man, I need that kind of untroubled audacity. Hakuna matata all the way. Meanwhile, C. is old- almost 40- which means he needs to stretch. Now, there’s stretching. You know, normal, light, easy stretching...... And then there’s like, 'oh, wait, I have to do a 20 minute yoga session before I run' stretching. WHUT? oooookay. I made fun of him, which the karma gods duly noted. Pre-race pics for Jules and I when all the stretching was FINALLY done. We lined up to start. I’m completely out of sight in the start photo, but C. is there. Jules is out of sight beside me instead of lining up with all the kids. There were a LOT of kids there, which is always a great thing to see. This race is not a fast course. The first mile is uphill. The second mile is mostly flat but includes a bunch of wooded trail. The third mile is a mix of said trail plus about .5 mile of downhill pavement back to the finish. It’s easy to blow up climbing in the first mile and ruin everything, but it’s nice to have that downhill finish to redeem yourself a smidge, if redemption is something you need (spoiler alert: I did). We hadn’t even gotten close to the top of the hill, maybe .75 mile in before I realized two things. 1) I felt like crap. Not just normal 5k pain crap, but absolute crap from head to toe. My stomach was roiling, my legs felt dead and heavy and my breathing was ragged. 2) C. was pulling away from me, trotting easily as if he ran 5ks every day instead of this being his first one, his bright yellow shirt like a beacon ahead of me. WTH????!! Somewhere in mile 2, I realized that I was struggling to stay under 8:00 minute pace. WHAT? This is absurd. I have run how many 5ks now, and much faster than this, and I feel like I'm being strangled? About the time I realized that my race was going to be awful, C. started yelling encouragement. Which helped a lot... I was grateful, because I was falling apart in the worst way. But the pacer had become the pacee. Beginner pacing coach. Again. WHUT? 😧 And for the rest of the race, C. was ahead of me and pulling away, holding back while yelling at me to stay with him. Which I could not do. Once I considered stopping to puke because I felt like doing so almost the entire race, but that would take like, a good half minute off my time, soooo… I basically huffed and puffed and agonized my way to the finish. When we got to the final .2, C. started putting on the gas. I tried my best to kick into my usual high-gear finish, but nope. I yelled at him to go. Go, go, go! He sprinted toward the clock, coming in at 23:10. And I finished 10 seconds later, feeling and looking like death, and all I could think was “He could have run a 22:30, easily!” I dry-heaved along the side for a little until my stomach eased up on the queasiness. C. came over to lend support and I demanded of him why he didn’t just go and LEAVE my sorry ass?! He kept saying, no, no, no, that’s not what this race was about, he’s fine with it. Okay, well, your coach demands that in the future, you will run a 5k all out to see what you can do. Oh, and you are faster than me now, congrats! A part of me was like, wow, that was fast... going from a non-runner to this in what, 6-7 months? But I was and am so proud that none of it mattered an iota. Well, besides the iota that it took to admit that he's faster than me now. Which was maybe a little more than an iota... So okay, it mattered a little that he was faster than me but he worked for and deserves it and I am proud as punch. I still don't know what went wrong. Not having trained for a 5k (all marathon training stuff this past winter and spring)? Worked and was on my feet all day (a night race versus a morning race)? Heat and humidity? Or just woefully out of shape physically and mentally? Idk. Whatever it was, it's a time I'm happy to put behind me. My slowest 5k since early 2014 when I was coming back from injury, a minute slower than last year on this course, and nearly 2 minutes slower than my PR. But hey… I ran it. It sucked but I did it. JULES!!! What drove my own race out of my mind was the thought of my little girl out there running. I hurried back up the course to find her. The whole time I was worrying... she hadn't trained for this, and without me there to encourage her and run with her, would she fall apart and walk (she'd wanted to not walk at ALL!) and then cry and be heartbroken and beat up on herself? Because she tends to beat up on herself when she doesn't do well, we have no idea where the heck she inherited THAT mysterious trait. Or the crying....... Before I even got as far back on the course as I expected or wanted to, less than 2 tenths of a mile, here comes Juliet, charging along with her face red with determination, her stride still strong and beautiful. My heart got all the fuzzy feelings, seeing my little offspring running like a champ. She spied me and broke out in a huge grin, shouting at me, ‘MOM! MOM! I DIDN’T STOP ONCE AND I PASSED 8 PEOPLE!!!” I had told her beforehand to pick people off, and she told me she wants to see how many people she can pass. Ah, she’s a fierce little thing! I started running with her, slightly ahead, encouraging her. I told her we’re gonna kick it to the end, so I led out in front of her. She gave it a massive kick at the end, and we did the final .1 mile at an 8:14 pace. I let her go through the chute by herself, and she was flying! Final time: 31:18. 10:04 pace. And a 10-second PR over last year on this course, which I did not expect given so little training! Juliet was so excited and I was so proud. Her 3rd 5k… and she wants to do more this fall. I have a flat, fast October 5k all lined up for her. She wants to break 30 minutes, which I think is entirely possible with a little training and on a faster course. The first thing Jules wanted to do was eat! What the heck?! My stomach was still revolting, and she’s sitting there inhaling 2 pieces of pizza and a donut with sprinkles. Though I normally love this race for the pizza and watermelon, I could not stomach it today. No food for me. The sting from a bad race was quickly assuaged by getting my 3rd place OA female (despite the sucky time) medal and Jules missed an AG win by just one place, since she got lumped into the 10-and-under group... but she was so thrilled with her time and having run the whole race by herself without stopping that she didn't mind. And C!! Seeing him get his 2ND in AG medal—his first award, in his FIRST 5K was amazing. Even though I know full well that he could have finished with a faster time, I am incredibly proud of how far he's come as a runner. And he was a true friend, helping me get through a tough race when he DIDN'T HAVE TO AT ALL. We gotta get pics, of course. Then C. and I took Jules back home to get put to bed by my DH, along with the other kiddo. Then we swung by Karen’s house for an hour or two of chitchat, snacks, and drinks at her annual post-race party. Since I had to work the next morning (BOOOOO) we didn’t stay around too long, but it’s always wonderful to catch up with everyone. Even if the race itself was pretty much a bust, good friends can make up for it. As for being soundly beaten by my protégé, hey, if a pro like Lauren Fleshman can see the beauty in getting beaten by boys, so can a mortal like myself? Plus, I'm a long-distance runner and C. is better at shorter distances and we have that half-marathon coming up... 🤨
  27. 11 points
    7-12-18 There is an ebb and flow in this injury. I’ve rallied to feel optimistic about the outlook. To be out of the boot faster. To feel like bones have stopped hurting. To get a sense of a timeline going into the other half of the year. I’ve got plans. But it seems like my body is trying to halt me. At times, I think I’m being overly paranoid, like I should just buck up and accept the pain. It’s not like I can’t run or I can’t walk. But then I realize the stupidity of my thought process when I realize that I can feel the pain when I am just sitting. It is worse at night. Even on the days that it seems like I’ve only walked from my car to my cube and back. Maybe I need another hiatus from exercise? But I know how much better I feel when I get my heartrate up. I like pushing myself to the point that I feel sweat dripping off my nose. It’s like, it hurts so good. I realize that this sounds a bit wacky if you aren’t into running or exercise. The week off was good for a bit of mental clarity. I knew it was good to realize that running doesn’t define me. But gosh, I miss it. NYC (early November), in theory, should be easier to manage than Boston given the amount of time I will have. But I’ve really just been going through the motions of exercising here and there, biding my time to run again. I haven’t been putting hours of cardio in at the gym or at home. I’ve been putting in enough to offset the containers of Ben & Jerry’s just enough to keep from buying new pants. After NYC, there is Rehoboth (early December). And what is a really-bad-idea-because-I-fear-a-repeat, I have the opportunity to run in the JAX (mid-December) marathon again. The reality is that I don’t have to do any of these things. But I really want to. Like when someone brings in cake to work, I don’t have to take a piece. But I really want to. The past 6 months have been riddled with FOMO. I feel guilty at times for even thinking that way as I hope to continue (albeit more slowly) my running and have this drift into the past. But I want to be exhausted from high mileage, taking trips into the mountains every weekend, complaining about the heat, and becoming a few dollars poorer every time I visit Ultrasignup. I did put my name into the hat for GDR after unsuccessfully biding myself as an elite entry. It’s next March if I get in. If not, well, I guess I need to figure something else out for a WS entry. Seems a bit unreasonable when I look at my miserable training log of 2018, but a girl’s gotta dream? Speaking of dreams, I finally got the green light from HR about Everest next year. I just need to put my deposit down to make it officially official. I’ll admit that I would be a lot more excited about it if I didn’t have a darn boot on my leg. So I’m waiting until I actually am walking without any attachments before I plunk down a lot of money. It’s good to have these things to look forward to even if I am nervous about getting my body in shape to complete them all. Mentally, I feel 100% ready to tackle it all. In fact, I would argue that is what is going to be the hardest part of getting back to it. There are so many races and so many adventures and I feel like I’ve been missing out. Abiding by a healthy timeline is going to be hard. But necessary. I really don’t want to be back in the situation again. Even going for a short walk without pain is something I feel like I don’t remember how to do. I’m not spiritual, but if I were, I could imagine shaking my fists at the sky seething, “what else you got?” And then shaking my head when I am handed a painful skin condition while I’m in the boot. Look, I’m not dying, I have a roof over my head, a good job, lots of great friends, a close family, and am generally happy. I hate to complain because perfection doesn’t exist. I just hope that I have a greater appreciation for when my body decides to cooperate once again. I had just come from the podiatrist who told me 2 more weeks in the boot and thought I would give the surgeon’s office another call. My general physician needed to send a referral and apparently this process was very painful for both parties. I had already been through 10 days of antibiotics and they were demanding I was infection-free before coming for a consultation appointment. So, I need to go back to my doctor for them to tell you that I don’t have an infection for the thing that I might need to have surgery on? Let’s just say that I was near the end of my rope. After working in customer service for so long, I try to not let people get under my skin, but I had been chasing down people for 2 weeks now over this very painful issue. I asked her what her name was in that very-bitchy-I’m-telling-on-you way. In the midst of calling my general physician back, she called me back in a much different tone and offered to make an appointment because she said she had spoken with the nurse. Weird, but okay….I just hope that the doctor is not like his office staff. Or maybe she was having a couple of bad days every time I talked to her. I go to the surgeon’s office today and the person greeting me is like, oh yeah, we all know you when I tell her my name. I’m seething inside, but channel my inner Michelle Obama and choose to go high when they go low. This is second time I’ve ever had a referral for anything in my life and yeah, I’m kind of pissy because I’m in pain. And I’ve been in pain for weeks and no one seems to want to return a phone call or give me a straight answer. So, excuse me while I sit over in this uncomfortable chair and sulk about it. The surgeon tells me I could have it removed and it would be a relatively quick and easy procedure. But he also tells me it is very likely to come back. And I can’t have it removed until it is really, really quieted down. So basically, when I’ve forgotten about it? Yeah, I know…it’s not ideal, but we cannot risk surgery with it being potentially infected. I definitely understand unfortunately. And it does seem to be less angry now. I don’t know if I will have the surgery just knowing that it could come back. And if it lies dormant most of the year and flares up every 12-18 months, I now know to just go get some antibiotics. Also, I’m suuuuuupppper aware that I am way more sensitive about it now because of my boot. Because I can’t even run to try to kabash my pissy emotions. 7-17-18 I had intentions of working out on our family vacation to Kansas. If I were running, it would be a no-brainer to slip out the door in the early hours of the morning and crank out the miles before anyone wakes up. Vacation and morning running seem to oddly agree with me. But I just didn’t feel like working out. I slept, I chased my nephew around the playground in 100°+ weather, I held my niece so my sister could take a shower, and I just didn’t worry about it. I went back and forth about wearing my boot and ultimately only didn’t wear it for a 20-minute jaunt to Wal-Mart for picnic supplies. Otherwise, I wore that sucker pretty much any time I was weight-bearing. I am going to an outdoor concert on Saturday and plan to go bootless. And then I intend to go into the next week seeing how I feel without it. The doc wants me to walk around for 2 weeks and then get another x-ray to see how things look. I’m waiting for the day that I can walk around without remembering that something hurts. Let’s hope that day comes quickly so I feel confident to start running. I got picked for GDR in March 2019! Which also means that I need to find a 50K in between now and February to run. The timing is kind of crappy with fall/winter marathons on the calendar, but really, I need some more mileage by early next year anyway. So maybe January? I hate this feeling of being all wishy-washy with races. I used to be wishy-washy because I didn’t know if I had the weekend off to race. Now I’m wishy-washy because my bones suck. I don’t like being wishy-washy. Silver linings, though? I think 12 weeks in the boot this year will give me all the mental fuel I will need to make the next chapter so, so good. The goal for the second half of 2018? STAYOUTOFTHEBOOT
  28. 11 points
    Right after college, I got a job with the Daily News Tribune as a newspaper reporter. Except for the pay (I could read want-ads for motel maids that offered more money), it was a dream come true. Eventually, I found out that about a year before I got there the Daily News Tribune had been responsible for what may still be the second funniest thing I've ever seen in the media in regards to the sport of running. The Editor was a great guy, and loved to run. It was only a couple years after the publication of "The Complete Book of Running," by Jim Fixx, so running as a pastime was still a bit new to the general public (In fact, it was this 10K that first gave me the bug to maybe one day run a race). The Daily News Tribune came up with a great idea: let's sponsor a 10K race. It was new and exciting and well attended. The Daily News Tribune was very proud of its first Daily News Tribune 10K, held in the city of Fullerton. Except, when it came to news for the next day's coverage, there had also been a gas leak the very same day in another part of town that actually caused many people to be evacuated for their safety. Big news. So, across the entire front page, in dramatically big type at the top, was the headline: Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate. And to the far right, was one column below the headline that told the story of the gas leak. However, the Daily News Tribune was very proud of its 10K race. For a long time, they had been picturing this front page, with the 10K prominently featured. They were so happy to put a photo above the fold that was three or four columns across, and 10 inches or more deep. Huge. It showed off the big crowd of runners in flight, with a caption below it about the success of the race. Only the editors of the Daily News Tribune saw the front page as a sensible presentation of the previous day's news. The rest of the world saw the headline, "Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate" above a big photo of hundreds of people running through the streets of Fullerton. It looked like the fastest and best mass public evacuation in history. And everyone had the good sense to change into their running clothes in order to evacuate as rapidly as possible! It took well over a year before local newspaper people stopped laughing about it. Well, like me, they're probably laughing about it still.
  29. 11 points
    Many thanks for the good thoughts and the encouragement. Getting kudos for being patient is not generally a thing for me. Not sure I deserve it, either. The fact is, Louie continues to be a serious pain in my knee. Some days, not gearing up for a summer of marathon training eats me up inside. I try my best not to think about it. The first half of 2018 has had all sorts of suck to it, if I'm being honest. The knee, of course. T-Rex's continuing struggles with school. My mom's unexpected passing. No marathons (I mentioned the knee, didn't I?). Best boss I've had since 1990 left the company. Three days in the hospital stemming from a cancer scare and resulting biopsy with prostatitis. Now that I look at it, that's only five things I can point to that have not been good. Never mind. On the plus side, Mrs. Dave and I had a fun weekend in Toronto. I upgraded my church assignment from working with the old men to teaching 7 year-olds. Bought my dream lawnmower. I was able to see Mom for a few days a month before she left us. Read some great books. So, there's five quick good things. I guess it all evens out, more or less. The come back trail is a bit bumpier this time around than from previous injuries. Normally, I get hurt, take time off, then start running again until I get back in shape and can start racing. There's often a few weeks of phantom pain. This time it seems to be more a couple of steps forward and one or two back, and that's after a long and very slow period of restricted range of motion and lingering fluid at the knee. After two weeks of jogging (no way to call this running yet)/walking a mile three times a week, plus some light PT on the off days, I ventured out for two on Saturday. There was a stoplight pause at a half mile and another at one and a half, plus I walked some steps at one mile. No pain. That's good, right? Start to finish took me about 21 minutes. Not going to bring Prince Henry out until it seems worth the effort to charge him up and strap him on, so I just started the stopwatch on my phone as I left the house and stopped it when I came back. Yesterday I figured to press the outer edge of the envelop a little more and do two miles again. This time there were no lights, so it was non-stop to a mile where I walked maybe 20-30 steps, then back. Again, no pain. Feeling very positive after that. Until today when it's kind of sore when I walk, especially after sitting. Someone tell me this is a normal part of the healing process and not a thing I'll be dealing with forever. You'd think as long as I've been running, and as many of the normal sorts of injuries I've had I would know. This is a surgery, though, and that's something I haven't been through before, so I guess that's a big difference. Anyway, PT today. Two weeks ago I vacuumed the house with Big Mac and a couple of her friends coming into town, and there was a nasty, almost sewer-ish smell from the machine. I changed the bag, thinking perhaps we'd sucked up some ickiness that was causing it. After I finished, it was still bad. I had to spray the house with Febreeze to get rid of the odor. I've never seen a vacuum smell like that. So when the guests were gone I disassembled the head, hose and attachments and found all kinds of guck clinging to the insides. Cleaned those out (holding my nose much of the time), scrubbed them with Mr. Clean, soaked the hose overnight with a bleach solution, then let it all air out for a couple of days. The nasty smell was gone so I put it back together and we seem to be back to normal. We have a couple of plastic 50 gallon drums we use to store water for emergencies. Learned the other day that even with a touch of bleach to keep it from breeding green stuff, it should be refreshed every few years. It's been at least ten since we filled them. Emptied and re-filled them yesterday. Mrs. Dave has a hard time watching movies, especially at home. Two reasons. She is constantly distracted with her phone - not social media, but with texts and calls from family and friends. She also falls asleep. Doesn't help that she mostly lays on the couch when we try to watch. Anyways, with the new Bond coming next year, she decided that she wanted to re-watch all the Daniel Craig films. So we've been working our way through Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre the last few weeks. It took us three nights to get through Spectre. First, she fell asleep about half way through the Rome car chase. Sunday night the power went out just after Blowfeld drills into Bond's head. So, we finally finished it last night. We may have to do this again next fall. Good thing I like 007 movies. This week I'll start painting the rest of the house inside. Thankfully the style where every room has to be a different color is out right now and I can use the nice dusty gray we used in the living and dining rooms. And there's the life of Dave right now. Thanks for reading.
  30. 10 points
    People are asking, "How was your race"? How'd you do?" and I have to pause because I don't want to say, "Well, I missed all my goals and ran 4:06" because that really doesn't tell the story. Boston 2019 was a fabulous time, as Boston always is. It is really not about how the race went. It is about soaking in the atmosphere and being part of a running carnival. Walking the streets surrounded by runners in their Boston jackets. Feeling like part of a secret club that you were lucky enough to earn your way into, that has been given control of a major city for the weekend. Sure, much of that is silliness in our heads, but it is palpable nonetheless. So, how'd I do? I did great. I got to run with 26,000 awesome people and get yelled at by 100,000 more. I got to have the same feeling that I did in New York of being a rock star, despite just being a guy jogging down the street at 8 minute pace, and slower. I enjoyed the hell out of it, so, yeah, I met my goal. But I know you want details, so I'll break it down for you. I flew across the country on Friday - a trek that took 14 hours after one flight got diverted and delayed and I missed my connection. But I eventually got to Boston and met up with Carissa and Adam. We rented an Airbnb apartment in an old building within walking distance of the finish line that looked like this. We had the 2nd floor of that corner building. It was basically a studio, with a 2nd bed in a room the size of a closet. But it was fine. It was great to have them to hang out with all weekend. Saturday was a busy day. Carissa ran the BAA 5K so I did a little shakeout run with her and watched the race. Then I hit the expo in the AM and picked up a few souvenirs before we all went to Fenway for the afternoon Red Sox game. It turned out sunny and beautiful and we had front row seats in right field just past the bullpen. Later we met up with Loopsters Ken and Glenn for dinner before finally getting some rest. Sunday was less busy as we mainly just ate and rested. Watched Tiger win the Masters, and Adam introduced me to Game of Thrones. Carissa whipped up a spaghetti dinner for traditional carb-loading. Then we laid out our gear and planned for the race. All week, the forecast had been for rain. First it was cold rain. Later it was warmer rain. And thunderstorms. But as it turned out, the rain came early and was done before race time. Unfortunately we had to walk to the bus at 7:30 while it was pouring down and we got drenched. Shoes and socks were soaked through. Oh well. The smart people wore throw-away shoes and carried their race shoes. Never thought of that. Happy to spend the hour on the bus with this crazy chick. Once we got to Hopkinton it was dry, but the fields were muddy. Not too horrible though. Plenty of time to take care of business. Carissa took off for her wave 2 start and I had a little time to myself. Then the long walk to the start line. I always like that. It's like a little parade where we can shake off the nerves and celebrate being there. Then we get into our corrals and there's a few minutes to converse with strangers that are (mostly) all smiling and excited. Wheeee!!! It's Boston!!! And then we're off. So my plan was just to run at comfortable pace. Not too fast. So I wanted the first two miles over 8, preferably closer to 8:30. Then I figured to settle into a pace about 8:00. Definitely wanted to avoid sub-8s in my usual (futile) quest to not go out too fast. Hoped to get through 16 close to 8 minute pace and then just see what happens after that. And that's basically what happened. I wanted to break 4, because, well, it sounds better! But I also was treating it like an ultra, where time didn't really matter. I gave myself permission (ahead of time) to walk on the uphills and enjoy the journey. And that's what happened! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Everything felt good as we started running. None of the injuries that have irritated me over the previous months even made a peep. Knee fine. Ankle fine. Hammy fine. Feet fine. First two miles were 8:16 and 8:11 as I ran with the crowd and relaxed. Then the splits dropped as we kept going downhill. 7:51, 7:46, 8:06, 7:52, 7:51, 7:57, 7:51, 7:56 through ten miles. I hit ten in almost exactly 80 minutes. I felt good. But not great. Not like I was itching to go faster. Carissa had put my name on my shirt with cut out duct tape letters, so I got to hear people cheering for me for about ten miles before the letters apparently fell off after I was sweating too much. It really helps hearing your name constantly. I also did a lot of high-fiving and smiling at people. The sun came out about this time and it started to warm up. Still felt pretty good through 13 and into Wellesley. 8:02, 7:48, 7:58 and halfway in 1:44:53. Just under 8 minute pace. The Wellesley girls were as loud as ever. I didn't stop for smooches, but I slapped hands with a hundred of them and soaked up the energy. I was feeling the fatigue come on, but I knew I was doing better than last time (2017) when I started bonking by mile 14. I was starting to bargain with myself about when I could take my first walk break. Definitely wanted to get through 16 and a big downhill there. 14-16 were 7:55, 8:14 and 7:49. And then the first of the Newton hills. It's not too steep but it's long. I downshifted and switched to training run mode. I told myself I could run over this first one at least. So I did. Got to 17 in 8:44. But by the time the 2nd hill started in mile 18 I was ready for a break and started to walk. My stomach had been uncomfortable for some time now. I made the mistake of eating THREE Clif bars before the race. Plus a bagel and a banana. And apparently whatever is in those Clif bars was creating some chemical reactions in my innards. So not only were my legs worn out, but I just didn't feel like running because of my belly. I started looking for port-a-potties but there were none about. Walked most of the 2nd hill because I had switched to Ultra mode and just didn't care anymore. Still happy though. Enjoying the people and the experience. Mile 18 was 12:27. I did some running mixed with walking for the next three miles over the rest of Newton. I had mentally checked out and thought about walking it in and it seemed fine. Hell, I've done it before! The upset belly just made the idea of running sound not fun. Mile 19 was 10:46. Finally I found an open p-o-p and went in, but it was a fruitless effort. Still clogged up I guess. I wasted over 2 minutes in there and then headed back out. Mile 20 was 15:20! But then relief came in the form of some eloquent flatulence. I let go with some lengthy tooting (silent, but also deadly), and suddenly felt like running was a much better idea. Grateful for the 20mph breezes (which were mostly behind us (ha)) the brown cloud soon parted. As I reached heartbreak hill in mile 21 I was chatting with another walker and we both decided to run. I made it most of the way up. But I did stop for photos at the top. Mile 21 was 14:00. But it was all downhill from here. Sure I was still sore-legged and spent. But I could run. So I got into a decent trotting pace and the walk breaks started to get farther apart. Mile 22 was 11:19 and I calculated that I wasn't going to break 4:00, but if I could keep moving I could still break my 4:11 disaster from 2017. So I kept moving. Mile 23 was 11:50 and 24 was 10:13! Flying! Seriously these last three miles were this year's highlight. Instead of suffering and shuffling like almost all my marathons, I was running! Albeit slowly. It was a nice surprise after feeling like crap a few miles back. Now on my 3rd Boston I knew the course better and that helped with the visualizing. I knew what was coming up and I kept trucking. Mile 25 was almost all running in 9:45. I knew I had it in the bag now. I was smiling and enjoying the huge crowds. The cloud cover had returned with some cool breezes (cold front) and then it started to rain with about a mile to go. It felt great. I took one last walk break as we dipped under the road before Hereford. And then I ran it all the way in - something I couldn't do the last two times. Mile 26 was 10:35 and the last .46 miles on my Garmin were 8:59 pace! Turning left on Boylston and running those last few blocks in a deafening roar was superfantastic. So much fun. I had my arms up for the finish and then my calf cramped with literally two steps to go. Hence the wince in these pictures. And then the smile. Done! 4:06:32. We'll call it an age-group course record. Hobbled the mile back to our place. The usual glorious shower. No chafing. No blisters. Pretty medal. We all went out to celebrate at the top of the Prudential. 52 stories up for a beautiful view. Life is good.
  31. 10 points
    Allow me to reintroduce myself. I used to post in the old Loop hosted on the Runner's World site. I was known there as Kingcoffee. I used to love posting blogs and reading other peoples blogs and comments. I stopped doing that because my life became so busy that I could barely find the time to run much less write about it. I started my own company and it took up so much of my time that I didn't have any left for much else. I thought that, if I started my own company, I wouldn't have a "job" anymore. I quickly discovered that I had traded my one job for 5. I posted one blog in this new Loop but I wasn't able to get back to it to respond to any comments or questions. I hoped at that point, to become a regular again but my life quickly returned to the hectic world of running the business, sleeping, running and family. I'm six years plus into running my business now and I think there may finally be time to be a regular contributor. With the extra time commitment of running a business, there has been less time for the activity of running as well. My running fitness has declined, partly due to aging but more so due to lack of training. I have been able to run more consistently lately though and I was able to run a faster 5k last year than I have been able to run for quite awhile. With being so busy with work, I wasn't able to sign up for many races since most of them are on Saturdays. I'm the type of runner who mostly runs, in order to be able to race. Luckily, Friday 5k showed up in time to save my running life. What is Friday 5k? So glad you asked. A runner who lives much closer to Dave (you all know Dave), started Friday 5k but he started it on the west side of Michigan because that is where he spends most of his weekends. Friday 5k races take place on prime numbered Fridays beginning in April and ending in September. There is no entry fee and no t-shirts or medals but the races are timed and you can see your results shortly after the race is over. The races are paid for through donations. The only requirement to participate is that you have to become a member but membership is free. There have been numerous different things thrown into Friday 5k's. At first, the races were held at different places and you only found out where the evening before the race. At the end of one season, we were invited to run all ten of that year's 5k's in one day. Most racers only ran a few of those races but I ran all ten of them in one day. There was a little walking in the last 3 races that day but mostly running. Another year, the races all had different names, complete with theme songs and special prizes. One of those races was called the Aim Low 5k. I received a prize, which was a book titled Aim Low. The book is hilarious and yet also poignant. Another one was called the Sunshine Day 5k and we finished the race to a recording of the Brady Bunch singing Sunshine Day. Somewhere there probably still exists a video of me, my son and 2 foster kids skipping toward the finish line to the music. Now the races are all held at the same venue but there continues to be different contests and prizes tossed into the mix throughout the season. For the last 2 years there have been teams. This year there are no more teams but there will be an event where racers start at different times which are based on there previous Friday 5k times and the idea is that everyone will finish close to the same time. Kind of a handicap race. Some of you may wonder why I switched my name from Kingcoffee to Runningthrumymind. The main reason is that I stopped drinking coffee. Also, I intend for most of my blogs to be about the things I think about while I'm running. I do my best thinking when I'm out running. Running, particular my long runs, usually become a form of meditation and my mind goes rambling around while my body rambles down the road, (or trail). I hope some of you find this entertaining and I hope to be able to continue to write these on a regular basis.
  32. 10 points
    "...goin wherever it leads..." Geez, it’s been awhile. Last time I blooped was what, well before Wineglass? Yep. I went to Corning and ran a half marathon with Aubree and Tim (it’s been so long that I have no idea what the loop names are anymore) and had a great time pacing with Tim for Aubree’s sub- 1:45. Some belated pics, because I know how much everyone loves to see #raceface. I also ran a 5k with Juliet, who is a tiny little bundle of running awesomeness... She was so determined to run a sub-30 5k. And she did. She was crying for the last quarter mile, she was in so much pain, but she wanted NOTHING TO DO with slowing down and calling a 30:xx good enough. Sprinted to the finish with 10 seconds to spare and then it was my turn to cry a little. This summer, she'll be registering for her school's cross country program and I'm excited for that. But much of last year was kind of a bust, running-wise. I went through a huge slump- one I might still be in?- after the cluster-fudge brownie that was Buffalo. Something about that race cracked me wide open. God, I hate that race. I still have nightmares about that race. But I try to chalk up the debacle to character building and all that jazz. Moving on. Summer proved to only perpetuate the running $h$tshow, though, with a crazy schedule at work, and insanely hot temps (for here) and my general apathy at running. Working every single Saturday meant I could hardly ever race and since I couldn’t race, my mojo wilted like cotton candy in a rainstorm. I didn’t wanna run. At least not long and not far and not much. Add to that the fact that C, the RB I ran with last year, had his divorce finalized, got a girlfriend and promptly stopped running. Cold turkey. BAM. I mean, I kinda get it... a single dad with 2 kids and a full-time job doesn’t leave much time for running with a friend once you have better things to do (literally? lol ). And the girlfriend doesn’t run. So it was back to solo runs. This time, no RB and still no mojo, except for Wineglass weekend. Then this year rolled around, and I finally said screw it to the job that was holding all my Saturdays hostage. I got a new job. More pay, similar work, and NO WEEKENDS. I don’t really enjoy it all that much and am bored but most people don’t love their jobs so why should I expect more? What people do love, and I am no exception, is weekends. Hallelujah, I get real weekends again. I was going to run a marathon this spring, at Glass City. Like, BQ attempt and all that. I even tried a few weeks of training. Ran long runs up to 15 miles. And then one day I just said, you know what? I don’t want to do this. It’s not fun anymore. I was skipping tempos and dreading long runs. Especially since the winter weather seems to drag on and on and on and not in a good way like in the Journey song. It’s March 3 and it’s 15 degrees. This is not funny. Or maybe I just didn’t want a repeat of Buffalo, where I trained through a cold spring and then showed up for 80 degrees and air like soup. Have I mentioned disliking that race? Wait a minute. When was the last time I had a spring/summer where I just HAD FUN? Where the whole better-get-your-ass-into-training-mode wasn’t like an insistent alarm clock going off in my head? When I did what I WANTED? Ruling out what I don’t want was the first step but the next step was asking myself, Peg, what do you want? Here’s what I want: I want to enjoy my life, my family, my weekends. I want to be able to run with friends at yackety-yak minutes/mile instead of being saddled to a specific pace for 15 miles. I want to race some short distances. Specifically, 5ks and 10ks, without worrying that racing in the middle of training will either hurt my marathon training or end in a crappy race. Or get me injured. I want to do track workouts of 400s, 800s, mile repeats. I like track workouts. I want to get out my road bike and I want to bike, a lot. I want to drive to other parts of town, or other towns, and run while exploring. I want my running and biking to take me to places and experiences. And I’d like to bloop/blog about said places and experiences… yes, I’d like to hang out here more. I’ve missed writing about running, mostly because I’ve missed ENJOYING running. Oh, btw, I want to start *gasp* running trails. 50k. Maybe a 50 miler later. Yep, you heard me. ULTRAS I need something new. I need a change. I want to love running again. Once warmer weather rolls around (based on current trends, hoping to be in short sleeves by Memorial Day), I want to join a group from around here that regularly spends Saturdays or Sunday afternoons in the summer running trails down at Oil Creek State Park. That’s home to the Oil Creek 100M, 100k, and 50k every October; ZamGirl has done that one (HOLY COW I JUST REMEMBERED A LOOP NAME! Oh, I haven’t forgotten Bangle and 5Starks and KeepRunningGirl and atombuddy and dammit I AM A LOOPSTER STILL). The trail running group is largely insane trail junkies who run ultras and 24 hour stuff and 100 milers. So I will be the newbie in the group showing up in track flats and an 8 oz handheld and no bug spray or toilet paper. But I have been the newbie at everything under the sun since 2007 when I emerged a blinking newborn (figuratively) into the real modern world, so what else is new? I blame any gaffes on my hair color and ask lots of questions and take people’s advice and so far I’ve managed to get fairly far on that. I’m a couple weeks in of just… backing off and running differently. I even started doing some runs watchless, aka going out there and running routes that I know are a specific amount of miles and estimating the pace based on time passed. That’s relaxing. Different for me, for sure. Next thing you know I’ll be inputting runs of 5.98356 miles when I do wear the watch, and not running 20 foot laps in my driveway to get to 6…. ….. Kidding, never happening, the neighbors would be so disappointed to learn that I am not certifiably insane and I dislike letting people down. I will revisit the Boston dream again. Maybe a late marathon this fall, for a 2021 shot. Or maybe I’ll do the Glass City thing next spring instead. Somewhere, sometime, I’ll have the laser-focus that I used to have. You know, where I did every single run at least 10 seconds per mile faster than I’m supposed to and got 16 PRs in one year and ran, what was it, a sub-1:40 half marathon? Sometimes I kinda miss the old 2013 or 2017 me sometimes. You know what I don’t miss? The injuries. 2014, 2015, 2016. Turns out the world doesn’t come to a complete stop just because I’m a little more chill about running. In the meantime, I totally revamped my training. NEW PLAN!!! 5ks, 10ks, so speedwork during the week, along with short easy runs. And longer training runs on the weekend, hopefully some on trails, but with the focus of time on feet and not speed/pace. A possible 30k in May, providing the 23 people ahead of me on the waiting list decide they have better things to do on a Saturday morning. Go shopping, people. Picnic. Family wedding. Help me out here. And then I'm eyeing a 50k in June. Then I’m kiiiiiiiiinda putting a 50 miler at either Burning River 50 or Finger Lakes 50 on the table... It’s on the way far corner of the table and it may topple off at any moment, but the fact that it’s on the table is progress. And then, there’s always the Oil City 100k in October. That’s not on the table, that’s just a tiny seed in my brain. But you know, little acorns to mighty oaks and that sort of thing. Let’s not even start on the Ironman I still want to complete someday. But I don’t want to ruin this summer by taking up swimming (shudder) again. I'm not Fish or stewmanji (god, I love the loop names coming back to me). I kind of like the feeling I have right now, of doing my own thing. A simmering excitement. Trying new things. Going off the beaten path. Doing what I want, running what I want. Stay tuned.
  33. 10 points
    Sweet Mags: What in the hell are you doing? Rob: What the hell does it look like I’m doing? I’m blooping. Sweet Mags: Good golly! I haven’t heard you talk about those losers- er I mean Loopsters in like a hot minute. Rob: Well, if you recollect last year was a bust. I ran like 3 miles total last year after screwing up my back. Didn’t even get to go to Rehoboth to spectate in a sparkle skirt cause I was sicker than a dog. Sad times. Sweet Mags: Oh yeah, I remember you whining about that. Well, I know you’re running again because I can smell your clothes. Gosh, I’ll remember the good times when your undies didn’t fill the house with the smell of hot garbage. I mean, I guess you’re in a better mood and less of an asshole now that you’re running again. Rob: Not just running. Also, sleeping and lifting. Sweet Mags: Lifting my turds out of the litter box? Rob: Weights, jerkface. Since December. It’s been a real blessing, Sweet Mags. It’s like all I had to do is get a lot of good sleep, lift weights, eat reasonably and the running came back. Sweet Mags! The running came back. Sweet Mags: Get a hold of yourself!!!!!! Rob: Never! It’s called a runner’s high and I’ll do anything for another hit. Even bench press with the meat heads and go to sleep early. Sweet Mags: You’ve gone mad. Mad! Rob: Anyway, it hasn’t all been good. There was that incident with the HOKAs. Sweet Mags: The marshmallow shoes? Rob: Yep. The shoes some people call hookahs and not in an ironic way. Sweet Mags: They were almost as fugly as your Altras. Rob: Don’t talk about my Altras. That’s a line you do not cross. Sweet Mags: So what was the deal with the marshmallow shoes. Rob: Well, you know I get a good discount at the running store I work at on the weekends. Sweet Mags: Why can’t you work at a pet store and get me discounts? Rob: Cause people who have pets are insane. Sweet Mags: I mean, you have a valid point. Rob: Anyway, I bought a pair of Hoka Bondi. You know cause the damn Clifton 5 is still to narrow for my hobbit foot. One run in and my knee was screaming. Not only that, but I felt like I was going to trip over my feet with every other stride. It was a nightmare. So I took them home and burned them in a sacrifice to the running gods. Sweet Mags: Did you make s’mores out of them? Rob: You know I can’t lie to you. I returned them and exchanged them for Saucony Triumph 5’s. Sweet Mags: That’s my boy Rob: Thankfully, the Saucony got their shit together after the very disappointing 4’s. Sweet Mags: The Triumphs are cool, but you know I’m a barefoot runner. I don’t need to be shod with shoes that are just going to impede my performance. Rob: The barefoot movement died. Sweet Mags: You died! Rob: Shut it! Sweet Mags: I’ve already ran 6 hundos this year. Rob: I’ve ran about thirteen miles in January and about that much in February and I couldn’t be happier. I did my first threasy in over a year tonight! Sweet Mags: What do you want, a cookie? Rob: A couple of eggs and a Greek yogurt would be bomb. Sweet Mags: Greek yogurt tastes like ass. Rob: You should know. Ok dude, I gotta finish this bloop. Go chase your tail. Sweet Mags: Tell the Loopsters they suck. I’m OUT!
  34. 10 points
    I have never been a morning person. I don’t understand morning people. I’m not sure I even trust morning people. I don’t think the day should start until 11:30 am. Before that time, my level of motor function is akin to those beetles that get flipped upside down and flop around helplessly unless someone pushes them back over. And my cognitive state is such that it feels like everyone is speaking to me in Portuguese. I don’t speak Portuguese. As a result, I am usually an insufferably irritable asshole until sometime in the early afternoon when sufficient caffeine and calories have been absorbed to transform me into a productive member of society. Still an asshole though, more often than not. It’s kind of my jam. Despite 36 years of this behavior pattern today, for the third time in a week, I woke up and ran before work. Now, because of the contempt I have for my place of employment and the incredible job security I have since my two would-be replacements quit, I rarely show up before 10 am anyway, so this is a somewhat low bar. But even still, I am usually grunting at the coffee pot in my underwear until 8:45 most days, so the fact that I’ve been knocking out 6 and 8 milers by then is something of a miracle. I’ve honestly tried to become a morning runner roughly 47,316 times before, but it’s never stuck. I can usually slog through some morning runs when I have to travel for work or when it is absolutely imperative to keep up with a training plan, but it’s usually with the same enthusiasm one would reserve for a root canal performed by a proctologist not wearing gloves. And believe me, I’ve tried the “oh just lay your clothes out the night before to save time” or “program your automatic coffee pot before you go to bed” but all that ever results in is me trying to drink coffee out of a sock at 5:30 in the morning. [Insert seeming non-sequitur which will be used to tie things up in the end here] There’s a medical condition called foreign accent syndrome. Basically, some people who’ve experienced a head injury or trauma or a stroke suddenly sound like they’re speaking with a foreign to them accent. So, someone in Alabama trips and hits their head and suddenly sounds like the Queen of England. Or a person has a stroke in Beijing and then sounds like the McKenzie Brothers. There are even unconfirmed cases of people actually speaking another language after a trauma, which would be fascinating and horrifying if true. When I bounced out of bed last Friday at 6 am and with no prior planning just decided to do my easy 8 before work, The Wife thought I just didn’t sleep well. I concurred. When I got up at 6 am on Tuesday, my off day, and cheerfully had breakfast with her before she ran she thought I was buttering her up for Valentine’s Day. When I got up Wednesday and ran 8 with her, she was convinced of it. But it wasn’t until I woke HER up to run 6 this morning that she asked if everything was OK. The foreign accent thing popped into my head, so I asked her if one side of my face was drooping. This did not allay her concern, but she also didn’t say it was, so I’m taking that as a no. And after a week of this, I have to say, it is SO nice coming home from work and opening a beer instead of my running drawer. And I’m so much more productive at work, it’s like someone added 4 more hours to the day. So for now I’m just going to, well, run with it. I told The Wife not to worry, that I was fine as long as I didn’t start speaking in Portuguese. The way she looked at me made me wonder if there wasn’t a head injury after all...
  35. 10 points
    So I'm trying to wrap my head around some very surprising news. Just got diagnosed with what my surgeon is calling "extremely early, very treatable" breast cancer. WTF? I have spent my whole life being the healthy one - not just because I exercise consistently, but because my BMI is good; my bloodwork is perfect; my heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol are low. Yes, I have health hubris. This stuff doesn't happen to me. Except it just did. I'm still not sure I believe it. I'll be having surgery in a couple of weeks, followed, most likely, by radiation. So running will have to take a back seat for a little while. I'm expecting to bounce back fast though because that's just the way it's going to be. In other news, I retired in January. (I know, such a cliché … retire and get a diagnosis 10 days later … come on, that's ridiculous). My big goal in retirement is LEARN NEW STUFF, especially stuff I think I'm not interested in. For example, I've spent most of my life "hating" science, so I'm taking a class about the 7 greatest scientific discoveries in history. There's plenty of science to make my head spin, but it also covers the lives of the scientists who made the discoveries - and provides historical, cultural, political and social context. The teacher is great and it's really energizing to jump into something so different. I'm also taking a class called "Learning about the world through documentaries. Each week there's a new topic, a new documentary and interesting discussion. Much more fun than working. Also on the retirement agenda: leading a team from my church that's figuring out how to distribute $100,000 to nonprofits that are serving people who have been marginalized. We received a big gift and plan to put it back out into the universe, but want to do it intentionally and in a way that can help the most people. Very exciting stuff. Again much more fun than working. So, as you can see, I have no time for cancer. Now for the running update. I ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in December. Who runs a marathon in Mississippi? Well, my best friend lives there now, right on the race course. (She always says she lives just outside of New Orleans. That word - "Mississippi" - kind of sticks in your throat). Anyway, it's actually a great race in a beautiful place. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's point to point along the Gulf Coast - 500 ish people - well organized - really beautiful scenery - which you can't tell from this angle. (Gulf is on my right). I had 21 consistent miles, then endured about 5 miles of suffering. Better than my last marathon where I gave up mentally by mile 19. It was a fun day, even though I didn't do as well as I had hoped. (I took three 5-day trips in November which was peak mileage time, so my training was really off … but I was hoping that sea level would pull me through. It did not). Despite my bonk, I did end the race in style - wearing my friend's mink. (One of her minks, actually ... we are VERY different). So that's my update. Looking forward to setting new goals as soon as this health shizz is behind me.
  36. 10 points
    For some of you, I still have a presence here, cuz I like your blog posts and comment when I manage to find something relevant to say. I haven't posted much because there isn't much running-related to post about. If I'm being honest, work and merging my life with someone else's has taken up quite a bit of my time. And Mary Jane has been relatively silent, so there's not much to talk about there. So it's like, what the heck do I talk about? Looking back at 2018, I had one big running-related accomplishment and that was getting a 3-4 minute PR in the half marathon. Ever since then, I've wondered how much I can improve on a marathon time. I mean, the one time I did a marathon, I was running with a bad hip and thinking I could never finish one. And then I did, and ever since then I've sort of wondered, can I do better? I suppose that's how it works. ANYWAY. Lots going on in 2019. A few major expenses are popping up, like, you know, a wedding, so I can't go too crazy. But here are the things I'd like to accomplish in 2019 (both RR and NRR). 1. Get married with minimal sad/frustrated/angry tears. But happy tears are okay. 2. Find the perfect waterproof mascara to successfully manage the crying part. Recommendations welcome! 3. Run another 5K PR in the spring. I took advantage of extreme early bird pricing for a 5K a few weeks before the wedding. Hoping for a 90-ish second PR, which means a lot of work and dedication to healthy eating (not necessarily weight loss, just fueling with good food). 4. Finish two more half marathons. My company participates in the local corporate challenge every year. Usually I do the 5K, but this falls on the same day as the wedding, so I have been considering signing up for the half marathon. A free race? Why not, says I? 5. Submit an audition tape for SURVIVOR. The future hubs and I went to an open casting call earlier this year (SO FUN), but haven't heard anything. So, I'm committing to submitting a full audition video, cuz why the heck not? And if Jeff Probst doesn't call me, then I'm onto #6 6. Finish another marathon. Probably the last one, cuz #7. 7. Start a family. We are both older, we aren't sure if it's possible to create a family on our own, but we will find out! And yes, I know people with young kids train for and finish marathons ALL THE TIME. But I'm okay with challenging myself with 5Ks and maybe the occasional 6.2 to 13.1-er. Maybe I'll be that lady that wins the geezer age groups at all the local 5Ks! Gonna make that a goal. 8. Work towards being the lady that dominates the geezer age groups. What is one of your running-related goals and one of your non-running related goals for 2019? 2018 Photo dump: Hiking in Moab I'm holding on for dear life; the future hubs is laughing hysterically. Post-race party at this year's family 5K. Engagement photos: (by Morgan Miller Photography) Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (did not do a race report, sorry) Christmas!
  37. 10 points
    There’s this movie I like. It’s based on a book by Nicholas Pileggi called Wiseguy. The plot follows this gangster named Henry Hill and his crew in NY in the ‘60s and ‘70s and how after years of living the high life he eventually gets caught. He gets flipped by the FBI, testifies against his crew, and goes into the Witness Protection Program. It came out in the early ‘90s and had some of the day’s big stars in it. There’s some cheesy nonsensical scenes in it about merengue dancing, but also one of my favorite weird nerdy out of place engineering references ever about the inventor of the rotary engine. Are you trying to remember when DeNiro or Liotta or maybe Pesci merengue dance? Well, wrong movie. I’m talking about My Blue Heaven. I’d be lying if I called it a good movie or said it lived up to it’s cast or crew (Steve Martin! Nora Ephron!), and the ridiculous Italian-American stereotypes were bad then and have aged worse. But I have a soft spot for less than good oddball movies, and this most certainly fits that description. Plus, since I’ve moved down south, scenes like this are a LOT funnier (OK, here’s the Wankel bit too and some of that bad stereotyping). For years I’ve had these images in my head of running under the towers of the Verrazano Bridge, or flying through the cacophony that is 1st Ave, or charging through Central Park, and always thought this would one day be my NYC Marathon experience. I pictured myself having my own “fuck yeah” moment of triumph finishing the one race I always wanted to run, propelled to a PR on adrenaline and the energy pulsing up through the streets of my favorite place on Earth. From the moment I found out I was in this year’s race, these were the images on repeat during my runs. And 6 months ago if you told me I’d be healthy and standing in Fort Wadsworth after a tough training cycle, I’d be expecting those dreams to become reality. But that’s not how it’s going to be. I’ve avoided serious injury, cutting back the mileage and intensity has let my feet heal to something close to normal. So that’s a win, and not a small one. But there’s nothing I can do to make up for the lost fitness, and I’m still in the trough of this depression I’ve been wallowing in. But as I keep reminding myself, I’m still going to NY. I’ll be there in Staten Island, willingly, on Nov 4. And there’s a long list of people I’m looking forward to seeing. Even the weather looks promising. Will this be the greatest moment of my illustrious running career? Nope. But it doesn’t need to be. Which doesn’t sound very profound, but for an uber-competitive person, it’s a big step. Just because Goodfellas was the better movie doesn’t mean I won’t stop what I’m doing when I see Steve Martin with that ridiculous haircut on the TV screen. So, here’s to hoping I find my little slice of heaven on the streets of New York.
  38. 10 points
    I was initially planning to hold the Second Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic on Monday, seeing as how I had 8 miles on the schedule and the first running of the event had also been a Monday. Seemed symmetrically preordained. But, as is ever the case, life intervened. I found out I had to spend all day Tuesday in Florida with a client who likes to be wined and dined and always insists on closing the bar of whatever restaurant they make us buy them dinner at. So I knew I wasn’t going to get my Tuesday workout in on schedule. I decided to move the workout to Monday, Wednesday’s off day to Tuesday, and Monday’s easy 8 (and the Irma Gerd Classic) to Wednesday. Roll with the punches, amIright? All went well, until I was boarding my plane home Wednesday morning with the usual client hangover. My phone buzzed. I read the text, turned off my phone, and pulled out a book. My grandfather had passed away, arrangements would be forthcoming, and I had to be up in Jersey by Friday morning. Before anyone offers condolences or feels bad, let me be clear, my grandfather was 92 and kind of a prick. This wasn’t a surprise to anyone, and his children argued for two days about who would give the eulogy because no one could think of anything positive to say. The only topic he was able to hold a civil conversation with anyone on was baseball, and in my 36 years he probably said 150 non-baseball words to me. 144 of which were “Happy Birthday” and “Merry Christmas”. Is this oversimplifying a sad situation? Sure. But the point is this was, at the time, more an inconvenience than an emotionally trying episode. I was more broken up when The Wife made me throw out my favorite pair of running shorts because the holes they had grown left nothing to the imagination. After a few moments of reflection while we taxied and climbed through the clouds I started scrolling the Delta app to make my travel plans. Hurricane Florence, fittingly enough for the occasion, was forecast to be over South Carolina and North Georgia right as I was looking to fly home. The Wife and I both had meetings and hectic work schedules the following week and couldn’t afford days of flight cancellations and delays, which I knew was inevitable since flights were already disappearing as I was looking at them. I knew this meant I’d end up having to drive, which meant the tempo scheduled for Thursday was in jeopardy. Who wants to do a 12 miles tempo run after sitting in a car for 13 hours? Or who wants to sit in a car for 13 hours after a 12 mile tempo run? So I got home, discussed plans with The Wife, and decided Irma’s 8 (ish) would have to be the tempo. I quickly got dressed and not so quickly went through my shoe tying routine, which has been exacerbated lately. I’ve always been very particular about my shoes when I run. You see, the toes of my right foot tend to bump up against the end of my shoe if I don’t tie that one tight enough. And I like my shoes to be tied equally tightly so they feel the same as I run. But if I tie my left shoe too tightly I get pain and bruising on the top of THAT foot. Apparently my right foot is longer and my left is fatter. This results in a shoe tying routine that looks to the casual observer like a severe case of OCD as I tie and retie my shoes roughly 4,387 times before each run. This routine and over tightening of my shoes is (I’m pretty sure) what caused the tendonitis that has been hampering me lately. It’s not so bad really, as long as nothing is touching the tops of my feet. So as long as I avoid wearing socks or shoes I’m good to go. Motherfu*^*!^@$*^&#@!%&. I’ve had to skip runs, shorten workouts, tape bags of ice to my feet at the office and come up with all kinds of weird lacing patterns to be able to limp through runs. I’ve even had to cut half the tongues out of my shoes to avoid them brushing the fragile connective tissue. I can run without the pain becoming unmanageable, but my shoes are so loose my feet are now covered in blisters and I’m losing 2 toenails. But I can run. I got to the gym, claimed my treadmill, and started doing my leg swings and little warmup routine. As I was doing this a wannabe gym bro came up to me. I’d seen him before, he’s one of those guys who wears a hoodie with the sleeves cut off, capri tights under knee length shorts, and unlaced basketball shoes to the gym. But he weighs about as much as I do, so not sure he’s getting his money’s worth from his trainer. Oh yeah, he has a personal trainer come and yell at him in the gym every week. I saw the giant hulking trainer, who looks like Tommy Lister, glaring at me over his shoulder as he asked me “hey, uuhh… can I do my 3 minute warmup before you do your run?” Now, normally I’d growl and ignore this. But the other treadmills were in use and I know this guy has seen me spend over an hour on the ‘mill before. “3 minutes?” I asked. He sheepishly nodded and I waved him up and decided to do some more leg swings. He even wiped down the treadmill when he was done. I got through my mile and a half warmup without incident, and got started on my GMP miles. Deebo was screaming at the Little Bro and was scaring the crap out of everyone else in the gym, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Anxious for anything to distract myself from how hard the pace was already, I tried to eavesdrop. He was yelling something about not wanting it bad enough or some other tired cliche, but Little Bro was sipping from his water bottle. I assumed he was trying to motivate him for the next set, or excoriate him for quitting on the set before, but as soon as he started the next set he got quiet and just started counting reps. Once that set was finished, he yelled again while Little Bro rested. This strange pattern repeated from lat pulldowns to curls to inclined bench, and Little Bro never flinched. Maybe this was why he still had the arms of a marathoner. I had made it through the first two GMP miles, but was working too hard. My misshapen troll feet were sliding around in my too-loose shoes and I could feel the hotspots getting moist, so I again looked for a distraction. By now the other treadmills had changed over, and next to me was a girl walking while on the phone. I eavesdropped hoped for an interesting conversation, and I was not disappointed. This is, as close to verbatim as my memory allows, what I heard: “Yeah, so get this. I was talking to my mom, and she told me she was using her eyelash curler… yeah I know, right?? Anyway, so she’s using her eyelash curler, and she said she sneezed!! I was like OH EM GEE, did you like, rip your eyelashes out or something?!? And guess what… yup, SHE. RIPPED. OUT. HER. EYELASHES!! ...I KNOW, right?? So anyway, she wore fakes for a while, and they looked whatever. But then I saw her yesterday and they had finally grown back and LET. ME. TELL. YOU. Her eyelashes… looked… AMAZING. They were SOOOOO thick! ...I know right, who would have know? I tell you, they looked so good, I’m SERIOUSLY thinking about plucking all mine out so they grow back all thick like that.” I have nothing to add to that. I could not make that up if I tried, even though I wish I did because the thought that this person is out there in the wild every day scares the hell out of me. Imagining this person driving a car, using a stove, handling sharp objects and doing whatever it is they do for a living occupied my mind for another 2 miles. I was halfway through, and the pain in my feet had gotten to the point I needed to stop and readjust my shoes. At least, this was my excuse, I may have just needed to catch my breath. As I struggled and wheezed my way through my last few GMP miles, I saw someone waving out of the corner of my eye. It was Little Bro again. “Hey, uuhh… can I do a cooldown?” I laughed, shook my head, and went back to my run. He waved again. “Please?” I grunted something about being in the middle of a workout and pressed on. I worried for a minute the trainer was going to bash my skull in for refusing, but figured that would be a suitable excuse for stopping the workout and ending the pain, so I took the chance. Alas, he let me finish, and the only brief respite I had the rest of the way was the 15 seconds or so when the treadmill auto-stopped and I had to restart it. I jogged through my own cooldown as the gym crowd thinned. By the time I was done the only guy left was Mr. Tssst. He got this name because all I’ve ever seen him do is curls, and “tssst” is the sound he makes with each of the 9,436 reps he does. He was working away on his watermelon biceps as I wiped down and hobbled back to my apartment. I was afraid to take off my shoes because they had started squishing and I knew what that meant, so I sat on the bench by my front door and dripped sweat on the floor, which The Dog kept licking up before I could stop her. Everything hurt, I knew I had a half hour of bandaging and icing my feet ahead of me, and I still had to pack and get up at the ass crack of dawn to spend all day in the car. And, you know, the funeral thing. But I got through the workout. And I still had my eyelashes. Silver linings my friends, silver linings.
  39. 10 points
    The year was 1998. It was a chilly, windy and overcast Pennsylvania fall day. It was all I could do to drag myself across campus to class. Staring at the teacher, not hearing a word he said I could not imagine how I would make it back home and back to bed where I wanted to be. It had been like this for a while. My days revolved around going to class, going to work, and going to bed. When I was awake, I was a walking zombie. My waitress job wiped me out every night. Being the only one in my class who had to have a job during the school year, my main professor was used to giving me extensions on projects and assignments. It’s not that I didn’t have time, its that I couldn’t concentrate long enough to do the work. I was barely 19 and was not going to parties or even spending time with friends. My closest family member was a 3.5 hour drive away and had their own lives. Leaving class that day, I just couldn’t do it. I made a slit-second decision to head to the college nurse’s office. I told her I was so tired, could I just lay down for a few minutes? She made me comfortable and gently started to ask me questions and examine me. After taking my blood pressure, she asked if I was dizzy. It was pretty low (90/50), even for me. She covered me with a blanket and left me be. After 20 or so minutes, I got up and gathered my things, thanking the nurse for letting me rest. She strongly suggested I get some rest (that’s all I have been doing!) and see my doctor. My childhood doctor was over an hour away and I had no idea how I’d find the energy to drive there. That was out of the question. As I walked home I racked my fuzzy brain- what in the past had cleared my mind and given me energy? Although not what most would call athletic, I played and loved sports since elementary school. Running was a part of every one of those sports. So even if I couldn’t (or didn’t have the energy) find someone to play basketball or soccer with, I could always run. I always loved the buzz after a hard practice or game. I needed to do something. Maybe this was it. The night after my senior prom, just 16 or so months before this cloudy, northeast day, my mom died. She had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. She had been diagnosed when I was 16 and it was an outrageously quick progression of this disease plus preexisting mental illness that led her to somehow manage to swallow a bottle full of zanax even though she struggled with speech and tongue control. My father and I had been caretakers, splitting up duties depending on his factory work schedule and my school/athletics schedules. Although the end was near regardless of her actions, you are never prepared. I was not prepared for my father’s grief. My father was not prepared to care for a lost 17 year-old girl. Those few summer months before I got to go to school were the longest. I avoided my father like the plague. He needed me, but I truly had nothing to give. Move-in day at my first college could not come soon enough. One of my sisters accompanied dad and I that day. Dad never stepped foot in my dorm room, choosing to stay in our handicap/wheelchair van we no longer needed. A college dorm full of girls who had no idea what the last year of my life had been like was exactly what I needed. Immersing myself in teenage girl drama was the best soother. Soon after I started class, my dad moved to a retirement community in Florida. He had retired just days before my mom’s fatal choice. I no longer could go “home” but figured my dorm was now home and that would do. That first school year progressed and spring came. A memo was slipped under our doors one day, letting us know what days the dorms would close. Yep, I was totally clueless. I had spent Christmas with my half sister and her mom (my dad’s second wife whom he was married to before my mom… my family is an odd assortment of halfs and wholes due to multiple divorces), it hadn’t registered that the dorms actually CLOSE on holidays. What would I do for Easter? SHIT- what would I do for the summer? Dad and my family never offered a place for me to stay for the summer. A number of college buddies offered to take me home with them. But I didn’t want to bring them down. I was aware how most people did not know how to handle my grief, and repeatedly I ended up comforting them while I struggled. Thinking of what few options I had was overwhelming and I crashed back into depression. I just wanted my mom to be alive and I wanted to go home. The closest I could come in my mind was heading back upstate and transferring to a school about an hour from my hometown. This way I would be close to my high school friends. I could get an apartment in a town I was at least familiar with, a place I could live year round. I could go to a school where some of my high school classmates were enrolled. The college fitness center was eerily empty on that Friday night. The florescent lights seemed to echo and bounce off the still equipment. It reminded me of an all-night grocery store at 2 am. Or an airport after the last inbound flight of the night. I dragged myself up on a treadmill and hit the quickstart button. I don’t remember how long or far I ran. But what I do remember is the surge of clarity. A few of the cobwebs got blown out. A little humming in my soul. In the last 20 years I have run through grief and the associated waves of depression. I have run through fear. I have run as celebration. I have run to remember. I have run to feel alive. I have run to forget. Every major event since that day has been marked with a run. I am not fast. I normally do not go all that far. It doesn’t matter. I’m not sure what would have happened to that college kid all those years ago if she hadn’t got on the treadmill and went for her first true “run”. But I’m sure glad she did. I think I'll go for a run tonight.
  40. 10 points
    Today marks one year since the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. I will be running the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic later this week, so thought I'd commemorate by re-sharing the report from the original since it was killed on the old site. If anyone else wants to participate, you're welcome to it. Run 8 (ish? whatever) miles on a treadmill and write about it. Do what you must to spice it up. First, if Irma Gerd means nothing to you, please read this. The schedule today called for 8 miles easy. The forecast today also called for wind, rain, downed trees, and all manner of apocalyptic blights on the Atlanta metro area thanks to Hurricane Tropical Storm Tropical Depression Irma. Does it still keep its name after it’s no longer a “storm”? Not sure, but now I’m going to have to look into this. Anyway, back to today’s 8 miles. This is my last really big 60+ mile week before Chicago and I didn’t want to start it off all screwed up on miles and workouts, so I was determined to get this one in. Our forecast was for strong winds and rain starting early in the morning and intensifying until they peaked this evening. I thought about getting up and out early to beat the worst of the weather, but I had calls with overseas colleagues starting very early and realized this probably wasn’t going to happen. So then I decided to try and head out around lunch, but I got hungry and ate without thinking and didn’t have enough time to digest and run before my next call. Crap, I wasn’t going to get to run until the supposed peak of the bad weather. I checked the forecast and saw 20-30 mph winds and rain. So, basically what we had in Philly last year. I started getting ready to go when The Wife (we both worked from home today) looked at me with a raised eyebrow as if to say “and where do you think you’re going?”. And then she asked me where I thought I was going. She repeats herself a lot. We argued for a little bit, then she put the news on and showed me all the downed power lines and trees and reminded me how bad Atlanta drivers are in foul weather. And they are bad, the slightest mist of a rain and all hell breaks loose on the roadways like a bunch of drunks staggering haphazardly out of a brewery fire. So I resigned myself to hitting the treadmill. It’s not that I hate the treadmill per se. It is a useful training tool, and I have done quite of bit of my marathon pace training runs on the ol’ mill to account for how flat Chicago is and Atlanta isn’t. Repetitive stress on the same muscle groups and all that physiological jazz. But the idea of doing a slow easy run on the treadmill was as unpleasant as the realization that Honey Boo Boo likely has a larger savings account than I do. Plus, the lights had been flickering all afternoon, and half of my colleagues in the city had already lost power. Atlanta loses power if a blue jay breaks wind in the wrong direction, so I knew it was only a matter of time until our lights went out. If I was going to get in 8 on the mill, I was going to have to hurry. And so, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was born. You’re damn right I’m writing a bloop report about a treadmill training run. In anticipation of the fridge losing juice I started drinking the beer while it was still cold, and I got bored, so you’re getting this bloop. Nobody’s forcing you to read it. Go read about ass chafing if you want. When I got to the gym, there were two bros taking turns seeing who could grunt and slam weights the loudest, and one girl on an elliptical. I hopped on, hit play on my ancient iPod Touch, waited for the screen to self lock (the manual screen lock button no longer works) and got started. The first song was Rock the Casbah, which was a bit high tempo for a slow warm-up mile but that was the hand fate had dealt me so I went with it. The legs were tired, but not too beat up after the Hansons twin 10er cut back weekend, and quickly found their rhythm. Elliptical girl stopped and started walking over to me which made me panic a bit, until I realized she was simply the only other person in our complex who actually wipes down the equipment and was merely going to the dispenser. Mile 1 - 9:22. I was loose now and picked up the pace a bit. The gym bros were now done banging weights on the racks (not sure if either of them actually ever did a set or not) and it was time for one of them to do cardio. He ignored the two open treadmills and chose the one right next to me, then craned his neck over so far to see my screen he dripped sweat on my handrail. I offered him a towel, which he declined with a scoff. He then set his machine at what would be a walking pace for even a Galapagos Tortoise and started to, well I think he was trying to run, but jump up with one foot and land on the other, crashing his massive bulk onto the belt with such force my machine shook. And he was still craning over to see my screen. After about a minute of this awkward crashing skipping and staring at my screen he upped his pace to 6.8 mph where I was, stumbled through it for 30 seconds while I pictured him shooting off the back like the rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then stood on the railing for 5 minutes drinking his protein shake and stretching before calling it a day without wiping the machine. I used the perfect beat of INXS’ Devil Inside to focus on my cadence and tried not to laugh lest he squah my skull like a grape. Miles 2 and 3 8:49 and 8:49, and the legs felt positively light. Then one of my all time favorite regulars came into the gym. She jogs to the gym from her apartment every day, hops up on a treadmill, starts it, and stands on the rails while texting for a solid 2-3 minutes. Then she will run for 30-45 seconds, then back on the railings with the belt still running while she does an elaborate stretching routine. And I do mean elaborate, through the course of it her legs will go up onto the screen, then over the handrails, and even out the bottom almost tripping me over on my treadmill. Then 30 seconds more of running, then the stretching thing. Sometimes she’ll get off the 'mill and do a plank or pushups. The Wife and I call her Stretchy Magoo. She usually has the mill run for 3 miles or so, of which she runs maybe an 800, before jogging back to her apartment without wiping the machine. I enjoyed the Ramones' Beat on the Brat and George Harrison’s 1987 hit Got My Mind Set On You on this stretch, and miles 4 and 5 passed in 8:49 and 8:49. By this point, I was starting to feel a little of the marathon fatigue in the legs, the freshness passing as quickly as it had arrived. So I was thrilled when Black Betty was followed by Jump Around on the iPod. The first has a nice driving guitar riff to keep the turnover up, and the second is my all time party jam. I do a truly awful karaoke rendition of this song after tequila shots which I first discovered way back in the eighth grade at a graduation party. Except back then it was a half shot of tequila we stole from Kristen Phillips’ parents’ liquor cabinet and the song was on Top 40 stations, not Oldies ones. Either way, these powered me through mile 6 in a surprisingly quick 8:49. A new treadmill neighbor showed up and my playlist luck continued with Going the Distance off the Rocky soundtrack, and then Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison, not Van Halen). I was singing the latter quietly to myself (the former is an instrumental, so not sure why I felt compelled to clarify that) as it’s another frequent karaoke mistake. When I did the little throaty growl Ol’ Roy does, my treadmill neighbor must have heard it because she immediately jerked her head to look at me with an expression of pure horror on her face. I turned to meet her stare, and when I realized she heard me growl without context, I burst into laughter. She didn’t get the joke, and immediately packed up and left without wiping the machine. Mile 7 passed in another 8:49. The distractions and upbeat musical accompaniment had reenergized the legs, and I coasted through the last mile to the strains of Sam the Sham Pharaohs and one of the most ridiculously idiotic and enjoyable songs ever written. I mean, is he counting down in English or Spanish? I don’t care but be consistent man, it’s just sloppy. And Pharaohs didn’t speak Spanish anyway. And the only lyrics I can really make out are Hatty and Matty doing something. Between the historical inaccuracies, language mixing, and lousy uncreative rhyming this song is an indictment of the US education system if I ever saw one. It’s catchy as hell though, and I rode it through the end of mile 8 in 8:49. The treadmill said 8 miles, the Garmin said 8.42, but all I cared about was that I got in the run without so much as a flicker of the lights. And thus, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was complete. Can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. And I even still have power, so I can post this asinine bloop about running on a treadmill. What a time to be alive.
  41. 10 points
    So, the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 and I had a good week. Monday through Saturday we ran every day. A couple were short of the planned 3 miles, but that's because the route was a tad short and I'm not in the mood yet to be a stickler for the numbers. 19.71 total. This makes three weeks in a row I've run without a miss. People who lift/XT regularly know this already, but I'm discovering that weights just before running makes running harder. At least, when you're almost 60 and trying to get back into shape. Also doesn't help that summer was trying it's best to suck the life out of me before fall arrived Saturday. I'm assuming it was personal, anyway. Maybe not. It's the sort of thing you have to keep in mind, though.. Otherwise, you think there's something wrong, like congestive heart failure or cancer or some other health issue that's barely allowed to be discussed lightly these days. My point is, watching my heart rate (which I can actually do now with the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235) zoom up to 180-190 bpm on what was supposed to be an "easy" 2-3 miler, when less than a year ago I was still thinking about a possible BQ ... sort of makes you wonder about all sorts of worst case scenarios. I had a couple of runs that weren't terrible. In one case it was 70 degrees outside instead of 90, so I figured it was just the weather. Except then I had another day that wasn't broiling and it pretty much sucked, so I needed a new theory. Two Saturdays ago I stretched my "long" run to 4 miles. Since it was Saturday and I needed to finish before starting a full day of other stuff, I skipped most of the intense exercises. Surprisingly (😒), it went better than most of my 3 milers had that week. Brings me to this past weekend and after going 3 miles each day instead of 2, I was also planning on trying for 5 on the long one. Got an email on Friday that a divorced woman at church needed some help cleaning up her large yard Saturday morning for an hour. Since I already was committed to cleaning the church at 9, I had to bump my run ahead the extra hour. First dark run in quite a while. I'm no longer fearless about running in the dark. Age has given rise to paranoia about stepping on a rock or the edge of a curb or something, setting back my recovery another who knows how long. So I grabbed one of the knuckle lights I got from Ms Ritz a few years ago and ran one of the better lit routes I know. Fall came that evening, astronomically speaking, but the weather was ready first thing in the morning. You know how sweet 48o tastes after a long hot and humid summer? It's like candy, my friends. With the knee feeling pretty good, I skipped all the normal work before and just ran. Wise? What do I know about wise. No issues with Louie, though, so it must have been an OK idea. Before 6:00 on a Saturday morning, there's not much traffic, automotive or pedestrian. There was one guy I exchanged greetings with twice as our out and backs overlapped, but other than a couple of cars passing, it was nice and quiet. The best part was I was able to run the entire 5 miles without a break. I assume as I get used to the weights and whatever, and obtw just get into shape again, it will be less sucky to run after doing them. I've read that 2-3 days a week is optimal for weight training anyway, so doing those Tuesday and Thursday, with just the lighter stuff the other days isn't cutting any important corners. As they get easy I also assume I'll need to get heavier weights? Since the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 does the heart rate thing, I decided to wear it most of the day to see what it says about that. I also sort of like getting notifications for calls/texts/etc. on my wrist. Didn't think I'd like it, but I do. Funny getting used to wearing a watch again, though. Mrs. Dave asked me once what time it was, and as I reached across the table to get my phone and look, she reminded me that I probably had that info in a handier spot. For the benefit of inquiring minds, I stopped at Home Depot in the afternoon and picked up some grass seed. The back lawn has never recovered from a hot dry spell in early July when we were out of town, so I thought I'd try boosting it now that fall is here, as well as getting some grass over where I cut down the mulberry tree this summer. Also priced out some landscaping material to redo an area along the side and back of the house that I haven't been happy with for a few years, and started clearing that out. Lastly, next week is the registration time for the 2019 Hood to Coast Relay. So far there's 6-7 who've said they want to be part of the team. A team is 12, so if you're still thinking about it, there's room. I considered abandoning the idea, but then figured this is my dream and I'm not going to be swayed by a lack of interest in our now tiny community. I'd prefer to have all Loopsters, but that's not a requirement. And there's still almost a year to put the full team together. Besides, I've missed out on the lottery twice already. There's no guarantee that we'll even get in. Have a great week, everyone.
  42. 10 points
    The short: When I saw my mile 1 split, the 5K course clock, and my mile 4 split during the Plaza 10K, a thought kept popping into my head: "I'm either going to kill my PR or blow up so hard". God blessed me with the former; I ran a PR of 36:34, nearly a minute under my previous road PR from the 2017 Plaza 10K and even under my track PR of 37:09 (I also broke 18:00 for the 5K for the first time during the process). I thought races like this only happened to other people, and I may never beat this time, so I am going to ride this post-race high so hard! Working on my season goal of smiling in my finishing photos The long: I thought I'd worked my PRs down low enough (in relation to my capability) that I'd be lucky anytime I could shave off a few seconds. It's always blown my mind to see long-time runners with already fast times drop a lot of time off of a PR, especially when they remark afterwards that they got out there and felt fantastic running faster than they'd expected, so they just kept going and ran a time beyond what they'd dreamed. I've had some break-through races like this years ago before I was running to my potential (the 2015 Waddell and Reed half was the most memorable one, when I hoped for 1:26:59 and ran 1:24:33), but I thought I was to the point where my margins were thin enough that dropping even 2-3 seconds/mile would be a really good day. In fact, I went into the Plaza 10K thinking that if I had a really good day I might be able to rival my track PR of 37:09. I thought if a miracle happened I might hit 36:59 and my big dream goal of breaking 37, but that would be a stretch. Since I ran this race last year, I knew the course and logistics, which is always helpful. I also had a planned pace partner, my friend Jessi who I trained with as often as I could while she was running for MSU (she now lives in Kansas City). I seemed to always nail workouts when I ran with her, so I was optimistic that she and I could pull each other through to stronger performances than we'd have alone. I felt good coming off my performance 6 days previously at the Run for a Child 10K, and I also felt completely recovered from that, despite being in a 73 mile week (I did get 2 short days prior to the race, which helped!). I knew the women's field as a whole would be very competitive, and when race morning gave us 58 degree temperatures, fast times looked promising. The start seemed much more crowded than this! At the gun, a lot of women took out fast, Jessi included. I quickly realized that she was used to cross-country and track racing where it's important to establish position early. I wanted to be with her so we could work together as planned, but I knew that it wasn't smart for me to go out any faster than 6:00 (6:05+ was actually my plan - after Run for a Child especially I wasn't afraid of a slow first mile). I settled into pace hoping that I would reel her back in before too long. My first mile was still faster than I'd wanted at 5:57, but the effort felt appropriate so I tried to push any worry out of my mind. I was moving up in position towards the end of the first mile and the beginning of the second, although at no point during the race did I know or care what place I was in. I pulled up with Jessi towards the end of the mile 2, and settled in stride with her. I didn't look at my second mile split because I felt like I was running exactly as I should be for a 6.2 mile race. I didn't want to get discouraged if the pace was slower than I wanted, and I didn't want to get scared if it was faster than I'd expected. Mile 2 was 5:48 so I'm glad I didn't look because I would have been worried I was going too fast too early. I have learned to trust that I race best when I race by effort, and I've learned to let go of thinking I need to micro-manage every single split, especially when I'm in a competitive field. Jessi and I said a few words of encouragement to each other and pressed on side-by-side. Janell was also right in front of us (I mentioned her in my post about Rock the Parkway, where we ran nearly the whole race together before she out-kicked me - she is also training for a 2:45 at CIM and working with the same coach as me!). We all passed the 5K clock together, and it read 18:08ish, although based on my splits it should have been more like 18:20, which doesn't surprise me because every course mile marker seemed slightly wrong, most of them too soon. I hadn't looked at my mile 3 Garmin split, and I didn't do the math on our pace, but did tell Jessi, "Well, I just ran a 5K PR". I felt like I was running within myself, and I felt like I could run that pace for that distance again (usually I don't at the 5K mark of a 10K!)....but at the same time I thought, "This is either going to go really well or really poorly!" I also kept thinking, "58 degrees is like a performance-enhancing drug!" Jessi & I synchronized running right behind Janell on the Plaza Ditto Mile 4 has a lot of decline in it, so I expected it would be my fastest mile. I didn't make any conscious moves at any point during this race, because my goal was to get the best 10K I could out of myself and not worry about what anyone else was doing, but Jessi and I had gapped Janell slightly at some point after the 5K, and I started pulling away from Jessi as I accelerated down the decline. I encouraged her to stick on me, but we separated at that point. It was almost like Run for a Child was a preview for this race in regards to how I felt; I felt like I kept gaining momentum as the race progressed and I just felt so good. I also kept reflecting on how much better I felt at every point on the course than I had in 2017! I looked at my mile 4 split mainly because I figured it would be a confidence boost with the decline, and it was 5:38. I felt like I had a solid 2.2 more miles in me, but at the same time kept thinking, "I'm either going to get a huge PR or huge blow up!" Around mile 4 Mile 5 goes back up most of the elevation that drops in mile 4, so I expected it to be my slowest mile, although it wasn't. I was pulling in a couple of men so I focused on them and maintaining my turnover. I looked at my mile 5 split because I wanted to get some gauge on where I was at overall, and it was 5:52, which was a pleasant surprise! Strava grade-adjusted it to 5:40 on flat ground. I also realized that I still didn't have a great gauge on where I was since I hadn't looked at my mile 2 and 3 splits and I wasn't smart enough to look at my total elapsed time, but I felt ready to pound it in with all I had and to see what that got me! It's a nice course, but it's not a track! Mile 6 also has some uphill before some decline to the finish, and I remembered how very long that mile felt the previous year. I felt strong this time, but also pretty spent, and in hindsight I may have pushed up the incline in mile 5 a little too much. However, I was also in no man's land during the final mile - I was not going to catch anyone and no one was going to catch me. I think if I'd been with someone I could have closed at 5:40-5:45, but I pushed as much as I could solo, which was another 5:52 (I didn't look at that split during the race). Once I was close enough to read the finishing clock, it read 36:12, and I knew I was going to be way under 37:00. I kicked it in with all I had left, which gave me a 5:25 pace final 0.28 on my Garmin and a bright shiny new PR of 36:34, chip time! One of my season goals is to smile for my finishing pictures, but I think I'd have been glowing in this one even without that game plan. My previous road PR was 37:30, which I ran last year at this same race, and my track PR is 37:09 so I beat that as well. Finishing with joy As I walked through the finish chute and then enjoyed an 8 mile cool down with great friends (Jessi, Janell, and Michelle from left to right below), it all felt surreal. I thought 36:59 would be a big stretch, but I certainly never expected to run in the mid-36's - at this 10K or ever! I also forgot what it was like to run in 58 degrees after a sweltering summer, but I quickly remembered that I like it! I love how we can all race each other while supporting each other 100% This course was certified so it was 6.22 miles, but my watch read 6.28 (at Run for a Child, which is also certified, it said 6.15). It was more difficult to run the tangents in this one, though, due to a more crowded field. I've decided if I had to choose I'd rather has a Garmin reading that's a little long than one that's a little short, because I want to know I for sure ran the distance (but right on would still be most preferred). Can you tell I like data? Garmin splits Because when your Garmin says 5:49, you take a picture! As a whole, GAP was -2/mile on average pace I am riding the post-PR high for all that it's worth! Like Run for a Child, this was a really nice checkpoint and confidence boost for me. I'm running pretty much all of the same races this fall that I ran in 2017, so I can see how my fitness compares, and so far so good on my progress! Being able to maintain the pace I did in this race really shocked me, because I haven't done any real speed work; my training has been strength-focused (tempos, long runs with some fast finishes/pick ups, and mileage). Really all that I've run at 5:49 pace has been strides and fartleks (and sometimes not even those!). So add this to my data indicating that speed work is worthless, haha! Especially because I also ran a 5K PR during this race, with my fastest 5K coming in at 17:55 on my Garmin. I won't count it as an official PR, but it shows me that I can do it. My actual 5K PR is 18:18, and 18:17 + 18:17 = 36:34, so this race was a faster pace as a whole as well. I will probably never beat this This would also be my fastest 2 mile since high school track! Official results are here. I was 6th overall female and 1st in age group 35-39. Winnings Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. - Proverbs 16:3 The more I give my running to God, the better I feel about it. That doesn't mean I perform any better or see linear progress - and early 2018 is sure proof of that - but that I know I'm going to be just fine no matter how races and workouts go. I'm sure thankful for this one, and also for the opportunity to continue to pursue my running dreams. Next up is the Indy Women's Half Marathon on September 29!
  43. 10 points
    Yesterday was better. I listened to a podcast that talked about sitting all day and biomechanics. It got me thinking even more that I want to blame my desk job for my injury issues. And also for my lackluster runs lately. In any case, I am slowly building up to standing more frequently at work. Much like running, I risk doing more damage of doing too much, too soon. But I’m also anxious to get back to where standing 8 hours a day isn’t a big deal. It would be far easier if I were able to wander around, but I think that is just me wishing for something that I don’t really want. Can’t I have all the physical aspects of retail back, but leave the pesky hours and people drama behind? I’m happy that after my short walk and dynamic warm-up that I did feel a little better. I was a bit worried because it was run #4 in a row. Something I wasn’t even considering doing until 2016. I had been a 4 day a week runner until 2015 which meant usually I would have a rest day every other day or every second day. Rare was the time that I would run 3 times in a row. It’s a balance, that’s for sure. I felt most confident when I was running 5 days a week and 6 seemed to nearing my breaking point. I think I could sustain 6 if I were training for a goal race AND I learned to actually run at a recovery pace. I’m still trying to figure that one out. I am being forced by my own body to run in the mid-8s right now and it feels like a tempo pace much of the time. I’ve had a few days that it seems a little easier and it gives me hope. The niggles of pain still creep up on me and sometimes I get scared when I feel my shin get angry or my foot is tender. Walking is mostly normal and I don’t give it a second thought much anymore, but I do have days that everything seems to be a bit tired and sore. As much as I want to feel healed and strong and ready to roll again, I still have so much more time to get through while that happens. Which is a funny thing. This time. It’s often hurry up and wait. When I was in the boot, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. If I could just run, I would be so happy! And I was incredibly grateful for those first few runs. But now that I’ve settled back in to some degree, I’m restless to feel effortless. And maybe this is the reason we keep training, we keep signing up for races. We only remember the things that were good and block out a lot of what was bad. I’m still trying to find joy in the journey. Yesterday, I came up over the bridge and was so happy that everything seemed to be working much better than the day before. My FF and FT were far happier and it just felt like a much easier effort. I noticed a big puffy white cloud in the sky and broke out into a grin. I laughed at myself when I walked back to the car, sweat burning in my eyes because I couldn’t fathom the additional heat of a hat or buff. I so desperately wished it was cooler and then remembered how much I hate running with a headlamp. A few short miles with the headlamp can be okay on a training run. Heck, even during a race, I seem to deal with is reasonable okay (maybe I’m blocking this out?). But longer training runs with a headlamp are awful. I think when I lose out on the scenery and the footing, I just would rather be a treadmill drone. But winter is indeed coming. As it does every year. And I will be happy for six weeks when the sunlight is still enough in the evenings, but the temperatures (pretty please!) start to drop. And I’m hoping that with the temperatures dropping, I will slowly start to feel stronger again. I’ve got a hefty race schedule over the next 9 months. Augusta Relay 70.3 - 13.1 run leg on 9/23 Hinson Lake 24 - aka-try-to-not-be-a-dumbass on 9/29 New York City Marathon on 11/4 Rehoboth Beach Marathon on 12/8 A 50K+ in January or February 2019 (a requirement for GDR) Georgia Death Race on 3/30/19 Boston Marathon on 4/15/19 Everest Marathon on 5/29/19 I’m both excited and nervous. I’m hoping that I make it to Everest feeling fit and ready and not injured and broken. Obviously Boston will be whatever it is. But I do want to continue my BQ streak and solidify a race time that gets me into 2020. The funny thing is that while I’d love to have a good, strong effort, I’d be thrilled to just have a chance to do it again. I’ve got a year to get it done.
  44. 10 points
    No wasps this week. Had my last session with Amanda on Thursday. Have to say I was disappointed that what we'd done hadn't made any difference. Not because PT isn't good for anything. I guess being 59 and recovering from surgery just takes more time than I'm comfortable with. No visible reduction in the swelling. Still the same level of pain and the same amount of limping. Gah. Apparently I still have months to go. But, I'm done with the appointments for now. I have an extensive regimen of stretching and (hip) exercises to continue with to go along with my return to regular running. And by "regular" I mean "consistent", not what I'm used to or what I want to do. Good news (?) is that I'm only limited by pain. Weak hips are a documented culprit in many running injuries, so I suppose it makes sense that this is where we're focusing. So, here's what's happening. Strength (everything is 3 x 10) Back, front and side hip extensions with resistance band. Single-Leg Bridges Clamshells with resistance band. Side steps with resistance band. Single leg deadlifts with weight. Weighted squats Fire hydrant with resistance band. Single leg squat (rear foot on chair). So many dang exercises. BORING! But, either time is passing, or the boring exercises are doing their thing. Yesterday's run was OK. Let's talk running for a second. I noticed that after PT the knee was feeling pretty good, so a couple of weeks ago I had Mrs. Dave or T-Rex drop me off and I'd run/jog/walk home the mile and a half from the rehab center. The first quarter to third of a mile, I'd still feel some pain, but it was on the low side and not in the surgery site. I'd have to walk a little every half mile or so, because I'm just so out of shape. Sucking wind is preferable to feeling a knee injury, though. Last Monday I tried a few exercises and then a couple of miles on my own. Same result. Tuesday I asked Amanda about it and she agreed that if it didn't hurt more than not running, I could keep at it. So I did the same Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I ran home again after the last appointment. And Friday. And Saturday. If you weren't counting, that's six days in a row running. Each one was about the same. Knee hurt for the first 0.3-0.4 mile, I'd run out of steam at about a mile so walked 20-30 yards (and again after another half mile). But there didn't seem to be any lingering issues. No additional swelling, no more pain than normal. In fact, for the rest of the evening the knee would feel better than it had during the day. Next day would hurt, but no more than previously. I complained about having no stamina and all the walking until Mrs. Dave reminded me that I've not been running really since February. Duh. Yesterday was the first day I ran the entire 2 miles. Averaged 9:15 per mile. I even had enough energy to notice the weather (which was overcast and a cool 65 degrees, btw - runner heaven!), the lady walking her two dogs and the guy with the LeBron glasses. The knee has felt better last two days than it has in a long time. Less pain and less limping, even after sitting at the desk for awhile. I consider it a serious step forward. No marathon plans yet, but just like a marathon, one step at a time.
  45. 10 points
    It's hot. Not just hot, but hot and humid. Very humid. Sure, it's summer, but this summer seems constantly humid. Maybe it's the fact that there hasn't been a break in the pattern of hot and humid weather. Sure, there are always hot and humid days during the summer, but it seems like during past summers the pattern would change after several days and there was a break for 2 - 3 days when it wasn't bad if you ran early. Maybe I'm just getting older and mis-remembering. That's not limited to politicians you know. Marathon training is going. I haven't missed any runs which is good. Let's not talk about workouts because pace has seriously suffered. The last time I successfully ran a pace run was during June. It's hard to hold GMP when the temp is a sticky 80 degrees. My RB and I managed to squeeze in a few track workouts to run 800s. Last Thursday's track workout was a fail. We tried to get an early start, but the "feels like" temperature was already 85 degrees under a blazing sun, so that didn't go so well. I may have to rethink GMP. On 8/18 I'm off to Vermont to run the 100 on 100 relay race with some of my favorite Loopsters. 100 on 100 is a 100 mile relay race on Route 100 in Vermont. The route is very scenic and the race is just a really fun day. Vermont is also home to Ben & Jerry's and we would be remiss if we didn't support local businesses there, right? Beer may be involved as well. Can't wait. The race falls at the perfect time in my training plan. I need 18 miles that day and my legs total 18 miles, so it fits just right. I am a little worried about not running 18 consecutive miles. My 3 legs over the course of 10-12 hours will total 18 miles, but does that have the same training effect as running an 18 mile long run for marathon training purposes? Seems like it does not. Does that matter? Probably not. I think the only difference will be more discomfort during the first 20 mile long run. The "Baker's Dozen" is going well. The Baker's Dozen is a Challenge that I'm doing with my LRG where we're running 13 half marathons in 12 months. The 13.1 miles doesn't have to be an official race - a 13.1 mile long run will suffice. A marathon counts for two so an October marathon will count for my double. It's a fun way to keep mileage up. Sometimes a few of us will run our 13.1 miles together on a running buddy's birthday, so there's been a bonding aspect to it as well. Nothing else exciting is going on so Consider yourself updated. Run well.
  46. 10 points
    7-18-18 A few (maybe more?) years ago, I was on the interwebs and stumbled across the Georgia Death Race. At the time, it seemed unfathomable to “run” something so difficult. Who in the world would ever be able to do such a thing? And here I am signed up for this race. There is a correlation in the time I read a piece by Lisa Jhung. She carelessly tossed around “hilly 16 miler” like it was a walk down the street and I was in awe that someone could do such a thing and still go about their day like a normal person. This was obviously well before I signed up for my first marathon. But I remember it distinctly because I wanted to know what it felt like to be able to do something so awesome with ease. And I’ll admit that over the years the long runs, marathons, and ultras seemed to just become more flippant. Not that I wasn’t working hard to maintain a certain level of fitness. I always respected the distance. But I did start to see marathons as just stepping stones in the process of completing more ultras. After finishing that first 26.2 though, I never have really had much doubt about completing a distance. Sure, I’ve had thoughts in the moment about continuing the race. But I’ve never actually felt like I signed up for something that I wasn’t sure of finishing. Even the first 24 hour/100 miler. There was a bit of fear of the unknown after the 100K mark. I knew things were going to get tough and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect both mentally and physically. But I think I always knew that I was capable of doing it. Which is what led me to thinking after this last 24-hour race that I really needed to just get myself out of going after the “easy” stuff. I put a true 100-mile race on my goal list along with a fast marathon. Both really were not unachievable, especially considering 2016 & 2017. When I was first injured back in February, I started seeking out the gnarliest races possible. Crazy elevation and distances. Seemed totally reasonable to be in a boot and dreaming about 40,000’ of gain. There is this weird line of wanting to do things that are really hard and knowing what your body is capable of. I think I’ve always waiting until I was beyond ready to go after a goal. So, I felt the need to jostle it up a bit. But now I kind of find myself back at square one. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to get my fitness and endurance back up, but I do know it will probably be months even in the best conditions to feel somewhat normal again. 7-19-18 I’m getting wordy now. It happens. If I can’t run, at least I can write. Running arguably leaves me feeling much better, but writing seems to be relatively injury-free. <Insert carpal tunnel foreboding thought here> I should be creatively thinking about other things, but my brain is kind of tapped out at the moment. There is a lot bubbling up there right now. Excitement about the boot removal, fear of effing myself up again, how to manage pain, how to know what is normal, how to know what is detrimental, etc., etc. I know there will be good days and bad. I know I will likely feel something that makes me say ohshitohshitohshit. I know I will do something really stupid. I know that I will back off even when I don’t need to. I was thinking this morning as I walked into the bathroom half-awake that I missed 2016 Carissa. I had pulled a glass out of the cabinet last night to enjoy an IPA that a coworker brought back from Indiana. I chose a glass from the last 50 miler I did which was in Indiana. It was more of a last-minute whim that I decided to race. Man, what I would give to be in jumps-into-50-milers shape right now. Mind you, it took a few years of consistent work to get to that point. I felt good because I interspersed the racing and big goals with fun running. But then I got greedy and wanted more, MORE, MORE! This will be the hard. I still want more. It’s going to be tough to run just to run. For the last 5ish years, I’ve been jumping from race to race without any real down time. There was something always near on the horizon. I would say I learned my lesson, but I don’t want to live cautiously forever. I mean, I don’t want to live in the boot forever either. What’s a girl to do? It seems like advice comes out of the woodwork when things are not peachy keen. I’ve decided at age 36 that I’m disagreeable to getting advised. Maybe that makes me a stubborn jerkface. Oh well. It’s kind of a liberating feeling when you stop worrying about what other people think. I can still be kind and thoughtful, but I don’t have to pretend. I’ve never been a good liar. You will likely know if I like you or not. I digress. Back to running. I have my little “plan” set up for next week and let’s be honest, the weeks following until NYC. But I have no idea what it truly will look like from week to week. In some regards I wish I had a coach to just keep me from hurting myself, but that kind of goes against my whole disagreeable-to-getting-advised. And would I actually be honest with him/her? I dunno. I feel like I have a few people that I talk to about my running that I can be 100% honest about how I feel/what I want and they aren’t trying to give me advice with every conversation. Oh, and I can freely bitch in my running log. Even if the pain is microscopic, I can complain. And I do want it noted because I actually see where I started feeling tibial pain this last go ‘round. 7-23-18 The boot is off. It should be followed by an exclamation point, but I don’t know that I feel it is worthy of that until I have my first pain-free run. And I need to get to the point that I am doing pain-free walking first. I think I had felt mostly better when I got out of the boot the last time. Like, I wasn’t super worried about going for a run because I wasn’t still nursing the injury. But this time my FF hurts and the FT seems to be mostly okay. I hate waiting and my heart is so ready to run, but I am really trying to not be stupid. So I’m still sitting at work. I’ve got the metatarsal pad back on. I will take it one day at a time when it comes to weight-bearing exercise. I’m waiting for the day that I wake up and things are not in pain. Saturday, I had a lot of FF pain. It was really bothering me and I took each step from the parking garage to the stadium with ease. I sat during most of the concert save for the last hour or so when it finally seemed to be a little less painful. Paired with a summer cold leaving me with laryngitis, the inability to shout, the heat of the day, and the tiny chairs crammed in together, I was not having a great time TBH. Plus, I was super conscious of the balance of staying hydrated enough to pass out, but not hydrated enough to stand in line for the bathroom all evening. Very annoying when I was trying to flush out a cold. I had spent most of the day Saturday just laying around. It made me feel a teeny bit guilty that I didn’t do much, but I also knew it was going to be a long night. Sunday, I slept in really late. My FF actually felt pretty good all day, but I didn’t want to press my luck. I decided to just do an arm Tabata workout and part of a core workout. I stood for a few of the arm exercises that are more awkward sitting, but also made sure that I didn’t do too many of them standing. I piddled around the house cooking, doing laundry, etc. and was on my feet for a bit, but I barely had over 3,000 steps for the day. I’m not really sure if being barefoot or having shoes on is better at this point. The pressure of the shoe on the top of my foot is pretty annoying sometimes, but I think the support of a harder soled shoe is better. Seems like every other day is a different feeling. It made me think about Boston when my foot was killing me the day of the expo, but then I actually felt pretty good the day I ran? Of course, I miss running a lot, but I also just miss being able to do my daily activities without pain. Even just walking around like a normal person is something that I haven’t been able to do for quite some time. 7-24-18 Oh. Em. Gee. There might be light at the end of the tunnel?? I don’t want to get too excited, but let’s face it, I am too excited. Today marks the first day in quite a long time that my foot and leg did not seems to be bothering me AND I can walk like a normal person. I was almost thinking that I was never going to know what that felt like again. Dramatic for someone who ran paced someone for 30 miles in May and ran the Boston Marathon in April. I know. But I haven’t felt good about anything related to my running in about 8 weeks so excusemewhileIenjoythis. I really want to just go run right now. But I think I need to wait at least another day before attempting. I know it is going to be a pretty awful and amazing experience. Awful because I’m going to be ridiculously out of shape. Amazing because, well, running! I am going to head to the gym tonight to get muh HR up a bit on some torturous cardio machine. It seems like my willpower to withstand them gets tinier by the day. But maybe if my body is actually feeling decent, it might suck less? I dunno, I don’t want to do anything to hamper my first run experience, so I’m tempted to just try to keep it as easy as possible (famous last words). 7-26-18 I used the arc trainer for 45 minutes (plus a 5-minute cool down) on Tuesday and my FF seemed to be a bit agitated about the situation. It was feeling tender afterwards through my strength workout, so I maintained the sitting position through my reps. Yesterday, I wore the metatarsal pad all day and sneakers to work. It’s not like I walk around much at all, but my foot was feeling achy and I couldn’t shake the feeling that is was swollen. It wasn’t, but the pad makes my foot feel stuffed in my shoe even with the laces loosened. Anyway, I took the pad off yesterday on my commute home. I ran into Target quickly and it seemed to feel better. So, I went for a walk at the rec center at a pace best described as leisurely, but not lazy. It actually seemed to feel okay about 10 minutes into the walk but then felt-better-than-before-but-worse-than-in-the-middle afterwards. I kind of thought about going for a 10 second jog in the middle of the walk. But geez, I’m so afraid of effing something up that I just had to tell myself NO! The timeline is not tight, and I only stand to lose at this point. Today, the FF seems to be more cooperative. I was actually supposed to get my boot off Tuesday and in my original plans, I hoped to do a bit of running by Friday. But the doc wanted me to just walk around for 2 weeks. I’m torn between getting a better cardio workout and adhering to the doctor’s orders versus getting the chance to run! Like, when I think about it, what idiot actually wants to be running? *Raises hand like the biggest brown-noser in the class* But I’m anxious to try even a little bit. This waiting stuff is for the birds. 7-27-18 I ran. For 23 minutes & 35 glorious seconds. It was super slow. It was a mere 2 miles. But it felt so good to just fall into the rhythm of running. Gosh, I knew I missed it, but I couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin off my face for the first 5 minutes. Things felt mostly good through the run. FF was a little sore, but not really noticeable. FT was a little more noticeable, or so I thought. I realized afterwards that it wasn’t the same spot that I was feeling, but rather the outside of my shin which is likely due to um, not using it for almost 2 months. Feeling no worse for the wear and having the happy endorphins of running coursing through my body made me very well, content. I was kind of relieved that everything went off rather unremarkably and that stupid Alanis song Hand in my Pocket was playing as I made the short drive from the rec center home. Everything’s going to be fine, fine, fine. But then Adam gave me the face when I got home. It’s the most annoying and best thing about marriage is that your person knows you. They know your faults, they know your weaknesses, and they for better or worse, care about you. I think about when I used to nag him all the time about his smoking and he would just trying to weasel out of the conversation by changing the subject. I immediately felt the flight upon seeing his face and practically bolted upstairs to do an arm workout. Eventually, I had to face the music though. When we headed out to dinner, I fought the flight and started to fight when he broached the subject. He knew the doctor wanted me to wait until I was seen again to start running. And he knew that I knew it was reckless for me to running. I tried to negotiate at first. With him, with myself. There’s no gym equipment that gives me the same feeling as running. It’s like pacifying a cigarette smoker with bubble gum. I’m not sure where my emotions left off. We are in the point of marriage where even the dicey stuff comes to halt rather quickly as I think it’s easier to remember that stewing gets you nowhere. He kind of left it with letting his feelings be known and me acknowledging that I was not happy about his grievances, but I was taking them to heart. And my decision about running for the next 10 days? TBD. On one hand, I feel like I have it out of my system for at least a few days. And while it wasn’t fast or long, the fluidity and motions of running felt as good as they always did. I didn’t struggle with breathing. My heart felt happy. My legs and arms remembered what to do. So, will it buy me at least 10 more days of bench time? Probably not, if I’m being honest with myself. But maybe it will give me every 2-3 days and I can ‘fess up my crime with only minimal infractions. I’m halfway tempted to call the doctor to see if they can get me in sooner. In the meantime, at least I feel a little better about getting on those godforsaken cardio machines with the knowledge that running will be in the near future. And I probably can get a better workout on them simply because I shouldn’t be pushing myself with the load-bearing stuff anyway. And walking is good, so I can at least incorporate that into my life. Funny how you don’t appreciate a good walk until you can’t do it. After dinner, Adam told me that he has days that he feels good and that he could do a little bit of walking. But that he has days that things still feel pretty blah. So, I was trying to pry out of him whether he wanted me to ask him about going for a walk or let him figure it out on his. I think we both know that left to his own devices, he is likely not going to do it by himself. It’s just not a habit for him. I’d like to think that could change, but I also don’t want to get too hopeful. It’s so easy that we get stuck in our ways (hello running girl!) and find it impossible to navigate the new normal. So, while I’m doing a bit of recovery myself, I will be attempting to see if he can start walking again. It would be really great if he could go back to the BAA 5K and finished what he started. But I also don’t want to push my own agenda on him – easier said than done. 7-27-18 prose I chose my dirtiest, most worn shoes. They look like they should have been tossed out 500 miles ago and are almost over-the-top in their state of deterioration. But a friend suggested I would crave the comfort of the ones that have served me well over the year. The caked-on dirt full of memories had to be shaken out once before I even started running. The interior sides both ripped behind the big hole were not a deterrent, even on the sandy trail. I laced them up like I had done thousands of times before, standing at the crossroads of before and after. It was only a big deal to me. But I made myself walk to my favorite section of flat trail that heads due west for about 50 meters. Then I picked up my shoulders like I was sighing heavily and dropped into a run. I expected it to feel sloppy or difficult. My breathing might feel labored or I would want to stop shortly after I started. But instead, I felt relief. Relief that it felt good. Relief that it felt natural. Relief that I want to just keep going for a really long time. It seems funny that we have these barriers put upon us, but I suppose that is what made it felt good. Like I knew I was breaking the rules. I’m sure I would have changed my mind after 4 miles about wanting to run for a really long time. It just seemed like it was such an easy pace that I could hold it forever. Like when I started at Hinson and it felt so painfully easy that I was nearly bored out of my mind. But then it slowly became harder and the easy pace became my hard pace. Given my feelings over the last 6 months, it seems like that was a different person. But as I climbed the tiny hill in the back section of the rec center loop, I thought about GDR and the training I would need to put in this winter to feel prepared. And instead of it scaring me, I felt so overwhelmingly excited. I wanted to climb those hills to exhaustion. To keep taking the curve of the forest service roads and wondering when they would end. I thought about goals and the feeling of satisfaction no matter how long it took given the place I was at now. And maybe that’s what I needed in my running. To know that even on the worst of days that it still was a joy to be able to move my body in that way. 7-30-18 I haven’t run again since last Thursday. 90% I would attribute to Adam talking some sense into me. 10% because my FF hasn’t felt quite right. Maybe I’m in denial, but it isn’t really pain. It’s more like it is just not quite right. I’m not sure if that makes any sense except to me. The FT seems to be healed, so perhaps I am focusing all my crazy energy on my foot? I can’t tell if I am just being hyperaware of my body because of what has transpired over the last 6 months or if there is actually something going on. What a strange feeling that it doesn’t definitively hurt, but it also doesn’t feel 100% either. I know the doctor said that it could take up to a year to heal so I’m holding onto the possibility that it is just going through that process. On the other hand, I live in fear of screwing it up again and being forced to take another break from running. I’m not certain I can intelligently make these decisions by myself because I’m always going to angle for a way to keep running. I think this is called addiction? I actually did okay with the break this second go ‘round for the first couple of weeks. But then as the weeks wore on and I started to get further away from those last runs, I missed it more and more. And now that the boot is off, I feel even more raring to let it rip, but this constant fear is harping on me. Before I went through this process, I would read stories of other people’s injuries and never felt a connection. Sure, I had niggles of pain here and there and often took a few days off to rest something that seemed to be giving me trouble. But I couldn’t relate to the weeks, months, seasons that runners would miss. Now I get it. And while the benching is hard enough, I’m going to say getting back into it has been harder for me. I’m aware that I have no chill when it comes to this. And having no running makes me even more neurotic. A solid 20 miler is a good way to help exhaust me.
  47. 10 points
    Today started out like any other day. That is, with morning, which I absolutely hate. Plus it’s Monday, and Monday mornings rate just below Godfather III and Pizza Hut on my list of things that never should have happened. The Wife had to work late, so I had planned to run in the morning so she could take the morning shift walking The Dog and I would be free for the evening walk. But we spent half the night up with The Dog who was panicked by the thunderstorms passing through, so the lack of sleep plus my hatred of morning conspired against me. So I decided to try and squeeze my easy 6 in at lunch, put on a second pot of coffee and dove into the workday. Well, to be fair, not so much dove into as “was dragged into kicking and screaming”. My first call was from a client who told me they did something we advised them not to do and it didn’t go well so they were suing us for not telling them not to do the thing we told them not to do. If you’re confused, don’t feel bad, so are their lawyers. Those discussions were at least interesting in an absurd Dadaist way, but things went downhill from there. It got to the point that I realized the run was going to have to wait, so when it came time for (first) lunch instead of working through it, I decided to actually take a few minutes to eat like a human being and turned on the TV for some background noise. The news was on. There was a press conference. I quickly lost my appetite. The day wore on and I planned to shift the run to right after I fed The Dog so that I could knock out the miles while she was digesting and still get in the evening walk. Then the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in, and my priority once again was calming The Dog from her anxious frenzy and making sure she didn’t hurt herself or the carpet or furniture or drywall. As it got later in the afternoon and The Wife was further delayed and the weather maps showed more storms on their way and the sating effects of second lunch and afternoon snacks wore off, I began to doubt I was going to be able to get my run in. Then, I got a break. The Wife had her final interview cancel at the last minute and told me she was on her way and would walk The Dog, right as I was about to concede the run and make dinner. I scrounged for a third afternoon snack to hold off the hunger and the instant The Wife walked in the door I tagged her in for thunder duty and hit the roads. I desperately needed some mind clearing miles after the events of the day, and tried to focus my thoughts on the lack of focus that comes when your priorities are whittled down to putting one foot in front of the other and breathing. I craved a simpler thought narrative, if only for the brief mental break that had thus far eluded me. There had been a break in the storms and the clouds had partly cleared. The last light of day brilliantly illuminated the mix of straggling clouds and blue sky and created the kind of vision of the heavens that inspires poets and painters. And sometimes angsty runners. I made my way south on Peachtree into Midtown just as the streetlights began coming on, and the way they broke up the first faint shadows of the evening gave a familiar hint of some coming joy in the night, but I couldn’t immediately put my finger on what was being recalled. It took a minute of searching the stored memories of sensual stimuli, but it eventually came to me. The mix of natural and artificial light, neither strong enough to wash out the other, on a summer night reminded me of the flood lights of the church and county fairs we used to attend as kids. Or the religious feasts or block parties or the North Brunswick Italian Festival. They always came alive as the lights came on and the air, at last free of the oppressive summer sun, finally cooled. For a moment, I could taste the sausage and pepper hero and smell the funnel cake. As I ran on another memory popped up. Growing up the summer always meant time with dad, as his work schedule was typically lighter in those months and he’d be home for after dinner games of catch or trips to Dairy Queen. As I looked up at the evening sky I remembered the distinct shade of blue I saw from another summer activity. I had watched hundreds of golf balls disappear into that same sky as my dad would give me pointers for my next swing. Of all the after dinner summer activities, the driving range was always our favorite. Over countless summer nights at Legends, the rundown range on Rt 18, with the promise of Dairy Queen on the way home my dad taught my brothers and I how to play golf. He taught us the mechanics of the swing and how to hit different types of shots with different clubs. But he also taught us to be quiet and respectful of the others on the range. And to share the bucket of balls and stay back out of harm’s way when it wasn’t our turn. He taught us the rules of golf and how you’re responsible for knowing those rules out on the course and calling penalties on yourself. He taught us that we keep our own score and need to be honest in doing so. I thought about those things my dad taught me, and lamented so many people in this world never seem to have had those lessons. The nostalgia for simpler times had its hoped for effect and for a moment, running as it so often does had brought me peace. But as I made the turn around and looked at what was before me, my heart and mood sank. The blue sky and crimson hued clouds were gone, replaced by a view straight out of Twister. I had been running away from it on the way out, but now I was headed right back into the approaching storm. As I got closer to home I kept looking at the monolith of pitch black cloud, devoid of shape or light or life, and my mind was again flooded with anxiety over all the things that were waiting for me. My phone would be full of email and voicemail and text messages, blinking its incessant LED notifications. Cable news likely wouldn’t have been abolished yet and its content wasn’t likely to have improved. I would soon enough feel helpless and heartbroken once again at being unable to comfort The Dog through yet another round of storms. I felt ashamed at my naivete. I hadn’t solved any of these problems, I was merely running away from them. Of course life was simpler and happier when you were a kid with no real commitments or responsibilities. Funnel cake causes diabetes. And for the love of God people cheat in golf all the time, the environmental impact of golf courses is enormously negative, and the sport and its clubs have excluded women and minorities for the entirety of its history. All I needed to top this off was to find out that my dad was the Zodiac Killer. My legs suddenly felt heavy and my pace down Cardiac Hill wasn’t any faster than it had been going up. I finished my 6 miles and walked the cool down block to my apartment. The rain started. I felt guilty and immature for needing my escape, like I was shirking all of life’s responsibilities. Walking past the park next to my apartment I saw a couple of guys getting out of a Jeep with the top off. It had only just started to sprinkle so I assumed they hadn’t noticed and decided to be a good Samaritan and flag them down to tell them about it. “We know” they said. Puzzled I looked at the Jeep, then back at them. “It’s ok, it’ll dry.” And with that, they made their way to the tennis courts. I thought about this as I walked on. We train our bodies through repeated stress and recovery, and through this they get stronger. Shouldn't this apply to the mind as well? Or must we constantly fret over what more often that not are merely passing showers? I pondered this over a shower beer while the last of the guilt washed down the drain and the beer made me forget about that nagging tender hip. Tomorrow will bring a new act in the theater of the absurd. Like the 600s on the schedule. I hate 600s. They make no sense and screw up the math. But I’ll get through them. And in the process, for a moment, I just might wonder how the world would be different if my dad had been a golf pro.
  48. 10 points
    “So are these guys like college buddies or something?” “Well, we all met in high school” I responded to Young Female Coworker. “I’ve known them almost 23 years.” Her face dropped and her eyes widened a little bit. “I’m 23.” “...ok…?” “I guess I just didn’t realize you were that old.” Goddamned kids. It was my last day in the office before heading out to the Outer Banks for a week for our annual shindig. As we’ve all moved on in life and a few of us moved away from New Jersey we’ve made it a point to pick at least a long weekend every year to all get together in one place and engage in shenanigans both old and new. Four of the six of us have had additions to their families in the past year, so we decided a beach house where we had easy access to not only surf and sand but also cribs and bottles was a good idea. I suspected The Wives also hoped that the mellow setting would keep our usual late cigar and brown liquor fueled evenings in check. My hunch was confirmed when we arrived on Sunday and began unloading the car. I had offered to pick up a supply of adult beverages before hitting the islands since I didn’t have to fit a pack ‘n play in my trunk and no one wanted to pay the premium prices island locales command. As The Guys and I set up the bar, we noticed The Wives huddled in the corner and gesturing in our direction while conferring in hushed tones. “Everything OK over there?” I asked, knowing full well we were about to be lectured like teenagers heading off to prom weekend. “Seems like overkill, doesn’t it?” “Well, I just wanted to make sure we had a selection. Don’t worry, we’re not planning on finishing all this or anything.” The Wife made eye contact with me and smirked as the rest of The Wives dispersed, seemingly satisfied. She is in the unique position of having known The Guys since high school, and of being an eyewitness to most of the “OHMYGOD you remember that time…” stories. I won’t bore you (further) with the details, but we had to make our first run to the liquor store on Tuesday, and made daily trips the rest of the week. Our average per day was 2.5 cases of beer, a bottle of liquor which varied based on the theme of that day’s cocktail hour, and a bottle of whisk(e)y for the evenings. Plus wine with dinner, naturally, but that doesn’t really count. We’re not savages, after all. It’s now the Wednesday after we got back, and it’s the first day since we got home that I didn’t wake up feeling like I was on an alien planet breathing a toxic atmosphere. It’s also the first time I ran since a slow, hungover 10 miles on Saturday. Next week starts training for the NYC Marathon. Most people in my shoes would be taking things easy or at least making sure they were getting to the start of training healthy and well rested. Instead, I’m in the final stages of a 3+ day hangover, am nursing a badly bruised knee/shin I don’t remember bruising, and am somehow 9 pounds heavier than before I left. On the plus side though, I now have a totally bitchin’ tan. As I was enjoying a post run shower beer today and thinking about all of this I had one of those moments of clarity where some deep personal truth is revealed to you through intense meditation, prayer, endorphins, or chemical enhancement. I was thinking about how stupid it was to spend a week trashing my body right before I planned to push it harder and ask more of it than I ever have. I took a long pull on the beer and stared at the can for a moment as I set it on the towel rack-cum-beer stand. I thought back to countless 5Ks and 10Ks I had raced hungover or with stomach issues caused by choices like gas station sushi or spicy kimchi cheesesteaks. But as I watched the mix of condensation and shower spray drip down the side of the can I realized it’s not just running where I make these choices. I wear a giant unruly beard to work in an uptight corporate office. I never do my mandatory training or administrative reports on time. I antagonize every single figure of authority in my life. I always renew the registration on my car a week late and almost never floss. This is where the epiphany came. On some level, we’re all a little broken. Some of us in serious ways, some superficial. Some physically, some emotionally or psychologically. We cope by going to therapy, doing yoga or meditating, or with pharmaceuticals (prescribed or otherwise). Some of us run. I’m broken in many ways, but I’d never quite realized the depth of this self-sabotaging fracture. As I stood there watching to see how long the drop of shampoo lather could cling to the bottom of the beer, I ran through all the times I’ve blown myself up and suddenly understood the source of this all wasn’t a lack of hugs from my mother or a longing for daddy’s approval or the effects of sitting too close to the TV. It was fear. Fear of taking a chance, of laying it all out on the line. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of being happy. Fear of rejection. I realized I stayed deep in this fissure of my psyche because it was small and cozy and safe down there. If I set myself up for failure before I even started something it removed some of the fear of foundering because I’d given myself a convenient excuse. And if I succeeded despite the artificial handicaps, well then it was just a more impressive accomplishment and a better story. In a few short months I’m going to be chasing the biggest running goal I’ve ever set for myself, and I know I’ve been a little intimidated by it. I wondered if I was already so scared of it that I was subconsciously sowing the seeds of catastrophe. I committed to myself that I would buckle down and start rationing the beer while training like an animal for NYC. Instead of feeling motivation or a sense of purpose though, I felt hollow. Something was missing. Despite my penchant for hara-kari making the path here twice as long, I’m in a pretty good position in life. I have a well-paying job with quality, affordable healthcare and live in a nice neighborhood in a bustling city. I don’t have to mine coal or handle toxic waste or give root canals to lions. And although I’ve at times had to lie about where the rent check is, all the bills are now on autopay. I’ve worked my ass off to get here, but I also know I’ve had every opportunity available for the taking and wasted plenty of them. Reaching this point while I’m still young and healthy enough to think I’m invincible is what’s allowed me to say yes to the marathons and travel and literal and metaphoric mountains I’ve climbed in the past couple of years. But because of this perfect little slice of the venn diagram of money, time, and health I’m currently in these aren’t really risks or real avenues for self-improvement I’ve been saying yes to. They’re just a life that I’m finally living. I may be heading down a better path, but I can still see the parking lot from where I’m standing. So how do I do something with this epiphany I’ve had? I’ve been listening to a lot of Patti Smith lately. I was rolling the lyrics of Pissfactory around my head for the roughly 5,432 time and wondering what to do with my newfound psychological awareness as I worked on a post-shower beer and a half-written blog. The train of thought was stalled due to signal problems, so I took a sip of beer and tried to let the bubbles clear my head, hoping one might float an idea to the surface. And just as the effervescence stung the back of my throat, Patti sang: I got something to hide here Called desire And I will get out of here I put the song on repeat and listened again. I may not be in a sweatshop doing hard manual labor, and I’m not looking to escape to the big city to be a big star. But I am tired of the monotony, of a place that chews people up and shits them out. We laid off a guy in our group this past year. He did good work and was well-liked, we just realized we could offer a junior person a promotion to fill part of his workload at ⅔ the cost and the rest of the senior managers could split up the big clients and grow our own revenue streams. I had my best year ever because of it, and the partners are looking for another sacrificial lamb. I saved my biggest client a ton of tax money as part of a recent project, not long after which I learned they fund PACs lobbying to remove legal provisions protecting the healthcare of people with preexisting conditions. My father’s a cancer survivor. I may be living a comfortable life, but the cost is sickening. I’ve known this, and I’ve long had the desire to change it. But I’ve been hiding it deep in the back of my mind, buried in that chasm of fear. It’s time to let it out. So I’m going to be taking some chances. Throwing everything I can think of at the wall to see what sticks. Doing more of this networking thing the kids are always talking about, maybe taking a class or two and exploring career options to atone for the sins of my past. And I’m going to try and write something. Don’t know what it will be yet, most likely nothing more than pseudo-intellectual masturbation, but who knows what’ll stick. My first training run for NYC is Thursday. I think I’ll write about it.
  49. 9 points
    Fun Fact: This website is considered "adult content" at my work. I used to post on the Loop semi-regularly but then IT blocked the site, and well excuses...and here we are. Quick background: This was my second marathon. My first was Arizona RnR Jan 2018 and I death-marched to a huge 28 min positive split, finishing in 4:38 (temp was 70’s and while I trained well, I did not fuel well). I’ve been working with Coach K for about 3 years now, since I returned to running after having my son. She’s a friend and coworker so I’m spoiled a bit by talking to her about running almost daily and she’s able to tweak my plan accordingly. She’s had 9:40 as MP for all my workouts since Sept. My goal for the race was first and foremost to have fun and not die like I did at Arizona. Secondly, I thought I might be able to run somewhere in the 9:50-10:00 range but this was never really my focus. CIM had pacers at 4:05 (9:21 pace) and 4:20 (9:55 pace); 4:05 would be too quick so I planned to start with 4:20 and go from there. I will say training went great. No sickness, no injuries, no missed runs, workouts or long runs. And I had a RB for almost all the LRs which was awesome. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the slightly excessive amount of weight I magically gained over Thanksgiving week… Friday: We flew to Sacramento as soon as my son’s school let out. He started Kindergarten in August and it’s still an adjustment to plan travel around a school schedule. Flight went well and we arrived at our hotel around 8pm. I had booked the hotel months ago so didn’t really remember much about it except it was close to everything. Well, it was a freaking awesome location. Our room faced the park and Capitol building which is where the race would finish. Runners would go right by the front of the hotel (around the 25.8ish point) and my husband could enjoy seeing the elites from the comfort of our room. Saturday’s 5K started right in front of the hotel as well. Walking out the back door of the hotel put you 10 steps from the Expo. Just perfect. Not perfect? The hotel wouldn’t respond to my late checkout requests until we got there. The stars aligned though and they said 1pm would be fine and no charge. OK then. Now I can de-stress (I’m someone who gets very anxious about logistics…). $70 (!!!) for a burger and 2 appetizers at the hotel restaurant and we headed to bed. DS was up 2 hours past his bedtime but was able to keep his shit together ok. Saturday: I head outside for a 3 mile shakeout around 7am and sweet Jesus it’s freezing! And wet with more rain on the way. Run is beautiful as it’s basically the peak of Fall in Northern CA, all the trees are yellow, red and orange and still have most of their leaves. Coming from dry, brown San Diego, this is just gorgeous. I take it all in and try not to run too fast. Many roads are closed in preparation for the 5K (not starting until 11am) and there are tons of runners out doing a shakeout before the marathon. A runner’s paradise really. I return to the hotel to pick up my family, then we get the most delicious breakfast around the corner (and thankfully, not $70) then head to the Expo right after it opens. Super easy to get the bib and shirt. I buy 2 items of CIM swag, a jacket and t-shirt. This is an amusing/annoying story: it’s pretty busy at the clothes tables so I try the jacket on quickly (over my sweaty running clothes and a thick fleece); there’s a sale tag that says it’s women’s M. Great, this should work. Later, when I get to the hotel, I’ll realize the tag was wrong and it’s a men’s jacket so doesn’t fit awesome. Grrr. I also wanted a T-shirt and in the normal world, I solidly wear a medium but in the running world, I am huge so I ask the girl for a Large. She returns with a medium and XL but they don’t have L. I hold up what she said was the medium and it looks good so I take that. When I return to San Diego, I try on the shirt and think “wow, this is a nice roomy medium for once” Oh no, it’s the XL. So it’ll work but crazy that I need an XL to not have a skin tight belly shirt. Ok sorry, I’m getting lost in the details here. We spend the afternoon walking around Old Sacramento, then come across an outdoor skating rink near the Sacramento King’s arena on the way back to the hotel. I’m not interested in hurting myself the day before the race but DH and DS have a blast. Pizza for dinner rounds out a nice day in a new city. The guys are in bed before 8pm but I stay up a little making sure everything is good to go. Sunday: I sleep just ok, alarm goes off at 4:30 and I’m out the door at 4:40. It’s a 2 min walk to the buses which don’t start loading until 5am. I am near the front so get on one of the first buses, score! We don’t arrive at the Start until 6am. We can stay on the buses which is great to stay warm. It’s probably in the 30’s but I dressed appropriately. I get off the bus to find a POP around 6:10 and am thrilled at what I see: POPs as far as the eye can see! I’ve never seen so many. The first 50 have lines but you just have to go a little farther and there’s no lines. Awesome! I get back on the bus and relax for awhile. Around 6:40, I start getting ready (race starts at 7am) when I realize I should hit the POP once more time. When I hop off the bus there are lots of people everywhere and I freak out that I’ve waited too long! I head to gear check, keeping just my gloves and a throwaway long sleeve, then jog past 100 POPs with lines until I finally get to where there aren’t any. I’m in there while I can hear the national anthem and again freak out a little. I jog back to the start line (there were 2 corrals: one for sub 4 h and one for >4 h) which gives me plenty of time to work my way up to the 4:20 pacers and still have about 10 min to spare. I wore tank, shorts and arm sleeves plus gloves which is perfect. Coach gave me a rundown of the course a few days earlier but I basically forget it all and just remember: hill right after the start, rolling hills, biggest hill at Mile 11, no hills last 8 miles. I run with the 4:20 group for the first 5K but it’s super annoying. Too many peoplee and I don’t feel like it’s really helping me because I keep slowing myself down. But I don’t want to get cocky and die, then watch them go past me. Screw it, I get in front of the group and then never think about them again. I aim for 9:40-9:50 pace but at the same time, I just keep things relaxed. I only check the watch here or there to make sure I stay out of the 9:20s (mostly). I’m not thinking about how many miles to go, just looking around at the beautiful fall scenery, reading signs, enjoying the atmosphere. Is it bad that I was hungry at Mile 2? I never once hit a hill where I thought “Oh crap, a hill”; just slight inclines that didn’t affect my pace really. To be fair, if this was a 5k, I would be telling a different story probably, but at my MP? I had trained on enough hills that I was barely noticing any of these. Not tons of people along the course but that was ok. It took until Mile 3 before I could feel my fingers and toes from the cold but otherwise, I felt great. I took off my gloves and carried them for maybe 2 miles before tossing them, thinking I was good to go. Oh, was I wrong! For a few miles (maybe around Mile 6?), just my right hand was cold but then both were numb. I put them in my arm pits at one point to warm up…which is how I first realized I was chafing there and it burned. Oops! My hands were getting colder and colder and it was bothering me more and more. Finally, around Mile 10 (maybe?) I picked up a pair of gloves off the street, ignored the fact they were slightly damp and probably covered in snot and wore them. Super gross but it did the trick and my hands weren’t cold again, haha I would end up keeping the gloves for probably an hour before tossing them. I kept waiting for the biggest hill around Mile 11 but either Coach had mis-remembered (she’s run CIM twice though) or hitting the incline at my MP vs hers makes a big difference because I never found the hill. I wasn’t doing any math about time goals, just clicking off the miles and trying not to be too fast in the first half. I hit the 13.1 mat just as my watch showed 2:06:00 and this was the only time I thought about where I might be for a finish time. “Woah, that’s better than I expected” is all I thought. Lots of interesting sights along the course including a golden retriever rescue group with a dozen of their cutest members, lots of kids to high five, and plenty of fruit, donuts, beer and tissues (tissues! I haven’t been a cold weather runner in ages and this was a godsend!) It was around Mile 18 that I was still feeling great except starting to notice my quads being sore. I kept thinking “tomorrow will suck but not today”. I ran through The Wall at Mile 20 feeling strong and in control, but also ready to be done soon. My nutrition was great and I really felt strong for the entire race. I was drinking some water at most of the water stops and taking a Clif Blok energy chew with caffeine at all the odd miles. My only split that didn’t start with a 9 (mile 24) was because I grabbed an orange slice and walked a few steps to eat it. Really for the final 10K, I felt good endurance-wise, but my legs were protesting, feeling pretty stiff and sore. Right at the Mile 25 marker, my watch display showed “low battery”, OH NO! I never let my watch get that low so I had no idea if that meant it would turn off in 1 minute or 30 minutes. The warning blocked the other numbers on my watch and I was afraid that if I tried to scroll past it, that would use too much battery and it would die even quicker. I know, I’m such a dork. But I didn’t touch any buttons and actually ran a bit faster, hoping I could finish before it died! I only saw my family when I passed our hotel so about 0.3 miles before the finish which was great. I told DH it wasn’t worth the hassle to Uber to earlier spots on the course, I’m used to running alone anyways. 4:13:00 !!! A 25 minute-freaking PR! When I visualized a best case scenario in my head, it was running 4:15 so this was awesome. If I didn’t have “low battery” staring back at me from the watch and realized I needed to run one second faster, I could have but oh well. Super happy with training and execution of this race. For perspective, when I first started working with my coach, I ran a 10K where my goal pace was 9:55 pace and here I am, about 2.5 years later running 26 miles at 9:40 pace. Crazy.
  50. 9 points
    Hello. I'm still at it. This running thing. Haven't posted in a month, mainly because I've just been feeling pretty negative every time I try to think of something to write. Why? I'm in the midst of marathon training - still getting the miles done - but it seems like most runs are disappointing. I'm sore a lot. My knee still hurts, although it's not so bad that I have to cut back. Mainly I think it's just my slow times. All my runs, whether it's an easy run, a tempo, or track work, are a little slower than I think they should be. Or than they used to be, say last year. I can blame the heat, or the excessive mileage, or my knee, but down deep I know those excuses are not valid. I think it's just me getting older, and I guess it's hard to accept. I don't want to complain, because I'm still running pretty well for an old guy. I haven't had any real downtime like many of my injured friends. But hey, that's what blogs are for, right? So anyway, marathon training is on track. The last ten weeks I averaged 40 miles. The last four weeks before last were 46, 32, 47 and 50. I did an 18 and a 20-miler, although they were pretty hard. I'm doing weekly speed work at the track with some mile repeats (4x1 and 5x1) around 6:55 pace. And then last week I tapered and ran a half marathon race in Long Beach. Four weeks out from NYC, my goal was to race this one, not for a 110% effort PR, but for a solid hard effort. I decided to go for 7:30 pace and hope I could finish stronger and break 1:38. Real goal was to keep it under 1:40, because, well, see above. Confidence lacking. My friend and track buddy, D was on hand. We are close in pace, although she is a little faster on the track, but lacks experience in the longer races. So we planned to run together at least for a while. I couldn't find her before the start in the large crowd (7,300). But I managed to spot her after about 1/4 mile, just ahead. So I had to pick it up a little to catch her. So much for my planned 7:50 first mile to ease into it... Hit mile one at 7:22. But we were back around 7:30 pace and comfortably cruising in mile 2. I had the 1:40 pace group just ahead and planned to keep them there. I didn't want to get ahead of them for a while yet. The pace felt a little hard, but comfortable. About right for a half. 2-4 were 7:29, 7:27, 7:31. Mile 5 was 7:20. Sometimes you get caught up racing people and lose track of pace...But I dialed it back. 6-7 were 7:30, 7:33. So all good, right? Well not exactly. The effort was starting to get to me. The legs were feeling heavy. Didn't feel the spark. D started to slip ahead and I let her go. I kept my effort consistent but the pace was slipping. Mile 8 was 7:46. I took a GU. Mile 9 started even worse, and I mentally checked out. There was no way I could get back to 7:30 for 5 more miles. So my goal changed to trying to stay ahead of (or with) the 1:40 group (which I had left behind in mile 3). I got through nine in 7:59. By now I didn't care about time. I had decided to walk through the next water stop and then just cruise it in and save my energy for marathon training. So I took a short break and then headed toward the finish. I wasn't completely dead, I was just tired and once I slowed I was comfortable. 10-12 were 8:19, 8:37 and 8:07. Most of the people around me must have been fading too because not many people passed me. The 1:40 group passed me (although they were down to three people) and I didn't have the will to stay with them. By mile 12 I could smell the finish and I pushed the pace up a bit, so at least it was an honest effort. Mile 13 was 7:38, and I "kicked it in" at 6:59 pace. So I finished my 43rd half marathon in 1:41:52. 9th AG, 236th overall (of 7,300) and a 67% age grade. Not proud, but, hey that's where I am now. Here's me and D. She faded like me, just up ahead, and finished at 1:41:00. So I'm not feeling real confident about running a fast 26 in four weeks. I just hope to not die too bad and not have to walk Central Park. So my goals are out the window. My NYC goal is to have fun, and practice restraint; Try to run the first half at over 8 minute pace, maybe 8:15+, and enjoy the experience. Sub-4 would be good. Then I'm taking a month off to rest the knee and the mojo.
  • Create New...