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About Me

Found 5 results

  1. DrWhiskers

    The Wall plus HM RR

    Typically, to a group of runners, The Wall relates to the ensuing death march over the last few miles of a marathon. The inflection point separating when you feel good/ok and when you are miserable. This post is not about that kind of wall. I live in Southern California, about a half hour drive from the Mexican Border so perhaps I’m talking about that Wall. The one that separates families with barbed wire and attempts to keep other people safe. The one that is constantly in the news for drug busts but also deemed not effective enough so there are several prototypes walls currently being built here to be bigger/better/stronger as well as fiscally irresponsible. Well, don’t worry—this post isn’t about that Wall either. One of the main running routes that I have in my town is along a main road. A mile or so on this 6-8 lane thoroughfare joins me up with infinite possibilities to hit anything from a 4 mile loop to my current 14 mile route. There’s just one problem, well, besides the stupidly ridiculous non-syncing of the 10 stoplights that mark the path. The north side of the road is lined with tall, thick hedges. I run on this side because it allows me to avoid the 4 minute wait for the walk signal and safe crossing to the south side. However, I’ve noticed that every August, for about 3 weeks, the green leafy shrubery blooms with red flowers. Do you know what likes red flowers? Bees. Hundred and thousands of bees. So for 3ish weeks, my running route transforms into a literal Wall of Bees. Running through this gauntlet means bees hitting you on the arms, chest and face. Not pictured here: the bees. Also, the sidewalk is quite narrow. Sometimes, I remember the danger and find my way through some of the side streets instead. Other times, I forget and get a few steps along before the first bee hits me. If I’m in the midst of a faster run, I’ll take my chances and gun it down the gauntlet, knowing if I freak out, my only option is to step away from the Wall of Bees directly into the traffic lane. Like I mentioned, it’s usually for a short time period in the summer. However, this year, the flowers have bloomed again in September, then October, then AGAIN last week. It’s freaking November! I don’t know where bees go in the winter (hibernate?) but it’s time for them to head out. I mean, Hello! It’s finally getting into the 50s at night. Ok, end rant about the damn bees. Training for my first marathon has been going pretty well in the last few weeks. I wrote a month ago about my low energy levels during any quality runs and that seems to be behind me. I made several changes at once so it’s hard to say what actually helped. I wondered about anemia and while my lab results came back at the low end of normal, I started taking an iron supplement. Then I wondered if my 5 runs + 2 hard strength training sessions per week were a bit too much so I’m only doing 1 day of strength training now. I’ve also combined that to be on the evening of the hard weekday workout (which is in the morning) in an attempt to make the hard days hard and keep the easy days easy. Previously, I was hitting the gym on my non-running days, effectively having no complete rest day. And finally, I took away the sub2 HM goal for the fall, choosing instead to focus solely on the marathon. The end result is quite a bit more confidence in my training. Yesterday was the Silver Strand Half Marathon which was supposed to be my sub2 atttempt. Instead, Coach had it as a workout on my schedule. The plan was: 3 easy miles before the race First 3 of the race: MP + 30s Next 7: MP (9:45-10 mm) Last 3: at least MP but down to HMP if I could So 16 miles total with 10 at MP. This is my first marathon, so MP that we’re currently aiming for is just a smidge faster than my long run pace. Also, my longest run previously (ever) was 14 miles so a mileage PR. Race day was beautiful! I was a little annoyed to be waking up at 430am for a long run but the sunrise over Coronado made it worth it. Temp was low 60’s and partly cloudy. This race also has a 5k and 10 miler, which DH was running for his longest run or race ever. So exciting! Additionally, there was a start for rollerbladers and elliptigo racers. I pictured a few random old guys showing up on rollerblades but no…this was serious business. Racing teams with head-to-toe matching gear and super expensive skates all effortlessly streaming around inches away from the next skater. The leaders would finish 10 miles in less than 30 min! The elites are in the front so a bit hard to see in this picture: The course is point-to-point for the straightest, flattest 10 miles, while the HM goes just steps past the finish line and continues on for another 5K loop. I could hear the life being sucked out of my fellow HM’ers as we continued on beyond the finish line for our final 3 miles. Quite a demoralizing way to set up the end of the race but I’m sure it made the logistics more straightforward. I ran my easy pre-race miles, stopping a few times to take pictures as well as use the cleanest beach bathroom that I’ve ever seen in San Diego, just 0.25 miles from the start line and completely empty. Score! The iconic Hotel Del I headed back to the start, met up with DH and ate a granola bar. Always seems like most runners have delicate, finicky stomachs but not me…real food right before running is usually just fine. I’ve actually started experimenting with eating something similar on my recent long runs during the final miles because I just get so hungry. There might be an ultrarunner hiding inside me because I would love to see aid stations with yummy real food. Anyways, DH and I started out together but he quickly got ahead of me while I worked hard to keep myself running easy. I caught up with him in mile 4 after I switched to my MP miles and would be in front of him until he zoomed past me with maybe 0.3 miles to go in his 10 mile race. Aside from being a bit stiff and sore, his race was a success! He was able to grab a few shots of me in the final 0.1 of my race. The most comfortable that I have ever looked at the end of a HM even though I was hitting low 8's at the end! Overall, I was very happy with my pacing. I basically followed coach's plan perfectly and I felt really good considering this was my first 16 miler. 9 weeks to go!
  2. In case anyone was wondering, I did cut back last week. I ran 20 miles last week, 4, 3, 3, 6, 4. I think it was the right choice because I definitely felt ready for more miles this week. This week was my highest mileage week to-date in years. 28 miles run in 4, 6, 4, 10, 4. Granted, I still have 4 more to run tomorrow, but I don't think it will be an issue. For my 4 miles yesterday I decided to go ahead and run them straight instead of the 5:1s. I figured that for my 5:1 runs I was averaging sub-12 minute miles -- which is pretty great. It means I'm mostly running 11s or even sub-11s during those 5 minutes. My half PR average is 10:18 when I was in really good shape years ago, but 11s or 11:30s have always been a good pace for me and something I'm happy with. Therefore I figured if I ran 4 miles straight -- it would *have* to be faster than an 11:45 average. I was wrong. I was also miserable. I can run a mile without a walk break, but it's slow and hard for me. It takes a lot of mental talking to myself to make it all the way through the mile. Because I was working so hard to make the full mile, I went ahead and took short walk breaks after each mile. I managed to drag myself through 4 miles, but my average was 12:02 and it just wasn't pleasant. Today I had 10 miles on my agenda. The furthest I have run in years. There is a mixed-use path that loops around the airport up the road which comes out right around 10 miles so it's always been one of my go-tos for longer runs in cool weather. (very little shade so it's terrible in the summer.) I've run and biked around that loop dozens of times over the years, but it's been a while so I was a touch nervous. But I set out with my audible book on my phone and my watch set to 5:1s and it was fine. Not great. Not terrible. But I ran strong during my 5s and enjoyed my walk breaks when they came. I ended up running 10.5 miles with an average of 11:44. Next week is another 28-mile week -- 4, 6, 4, 11, 3. I will probably do at least one of them as a straight run -- walk breaks after a mile as-needed -- but I suspect I won't enjoy it much. Ideally, I would like to get to the point where I can run 5 or 6 miles with no walk breaks, which means I need to start stretching some of my run intervals out. But on the other hand. 5:1s work for me right now so I don't want to stress too much about it before Rehoboth.
  3. PRE-RACE Saturday morning 5:00 - wake up; get running stuff and warmer stuff to wear on drive to start 5:30 - check course map and reference Google maps to find a parking lot with easy in/out about midway between start and finish 6:00 - get in car and drive toward downtown (aka uptown) Charlotte 6:35 - park in previously scoped empty, free parking lot; walk to start 6:40 - make small talk with another runner about start; he's not running though and had to defer; told him that's what I did last year 6:45 - walk into open lobby of sponsoring bank where they have shirts and food setup; but not packet pickup; "That's at the finish by Memorial Stadium"; "That would have been good to put in the email," I reply. 6:50 - Warm-up run ~1 mile to finish area; 7:00 - get packet; bite tongue about location of packet pickup because they can't change it now 7:05 - porta-potty 7:10 - another porta-potty 7:15 - walk back to car; shed layers; pin bib; sip water; eat half of banana 7:25 - walk to start; get asked by lady pointing toward finish, "Is bib pickup this way?" "Yes, keep going and you'll see it." She is cutting it tight. 7:33 - short warm-up run from start line to see what first couple of turns look like 7:38 - hear announcer say we're about 5 minutes from start; hmm, one more bathroom visit? 7:40 - no porta-potties by start; take elevator up with others to 5th floor for office restrooms 7:42 - short line to both men's and women's, partially because some women were using men's room 7:43 - use urinal while women wait for stalls; think to self, "I'm probably going to miss the start." 7:44 - skip elevator; rush down stairs; go out one level too high but see out window that race has started 7:45 - get to bottom level, run around corner to start line and make U-turn to cross timing mat behind everybody ROCKTOBERFEST HALF MARATHON 7:45 - 7:59 - Miles 1 & 2 - pass hundreds of runners by hoping on sidewalk on right and then going far left after first turn 8:00 - 8:12 - Miles 3 & 4 - check pace - 6:50ish - hold and conserve; see "Chafing the Dream" poster; show off air guitar skills during guitar solo of "Beat It" as DJ waves to runners 8:13 - 8:26 - Miles 5 & 6 - up down up down left right right right left right left right; passing slows down, but still picking them off; take a gatorade 8:26 - 8:39 - Miles 7 & 8 - mostly downhill mile 7 ends with a steep up from a paved trail back to road; uphill mile 8 slows pace to 6:56; spill a gatorade 8:40 - 8:53 - Miles 9 & 10 - holding a 6:48/49 overall average so far; another runner says, "You must have started late. You're blowing through everybody." I reply, "Held up in bathroom; I'm on about a 1:30 pace so far." He says, "Awesome, there's only about 15 people ahead."; take a gatorade 8:53 - 9:06 - Miles 11 & 12 - pass a few more; see shirtless, muscle, tattoo guy up ahead that beat me in a 10k last year; tattoo on back or a target?; pass him in middle of mile 12; note that he's carrying at least 50lbs more than me; good runner; on the other hand, short, overdressed, older guy who I thought was 12 years old from behind tries to pass me back, hangs for about 100 feet, then fades; take a water 9:07 - 9:13 - Mile 13 - pass many walking/jogging the shorter 9k race (yes, 9); one lady tells me, "You're number 9. Catch that guy!" See the finish line from almost .5 mile away and try not to look at how slow it seems to be getting bigger 9:14 - Mile 13.1 - hear footsteps closing behind me but hold them off and not worried about it because I started more than a minute behind anybody in the front Near end - shirtless muscle guy is now behind me. Other guy provided the footsteps that I heard closing in at finish line. POST RACE 9:15 - get medal, water, banana, Which Wich sandwich slices; throw bean bags at cornhole board getting one in to win a t-shirt and water bottle; grab OVI hydration juice; tell shirtless, muscle, tattoo guy that I had been chasing him a long time; he runs in clydesdale class 9:25 - slowly walk to car, skipping awards because son needs to be picked up and errands need to be done 9:30 - change to dry clothes in car; check results to see 1:29:45 official time, 7th place overall and 1st in age group; text wife and running buddies; 9:35 - leave
  4. mattw

    Use Your Words

    Dave has built up the Looptionary (see link at top) to help us remember and newbies learn our lingo. If you haven't noticed, bloops and comments will have underlined words which you can hover your mouse over and see the meaning. The challenge now is to see how many of those you can fit in, preferably misused. Or possibly see if you can avoid use of any of them in one bloop. So my company's name is BIB and our HRM department can Junk Miles of paperwork assigning DNS settings, encouraging LSD Minimalism, and designating half the parking lot to Pick-ups. Yesterday, I biked across the RR tracks to the Bank and Bonk went my head after Hitting the Wall. Then I saw my friend Cody Abby* who is an RB for the local college football team. I was registered for a half-marathon last year, but deferred due to PF. I figured I would have to pester the Race Director to get registered. A few weeks back I checked the participant list and did not see my name and decided not to worry about it. Last Friday, an email advertising the race reminded me to check the list again. And I found my name, age and town listed. More than a coincidence. I feel like I'm having a pop quiz. I've been in class, doing the assignments, but can't say I've really studied specifically for this test. Last Sunday's assignment was given to me by RB Tim who is training for the Phoenix RnR marathon. He wanted 18 miles with 10 at MP/GMP/MGP. He hoped for a 7:10 pace on those. After a 6 mile loop warmup and quick water stop, we picked a mostly flat out and back, though it was more downhill on the way out. It was a challenging workout, but we got the 10 done with an average of 7:04. That gave me a bit of confidence that I could run a decent half. I have mostly taken it easy this week with just some strides at the track. I'll run pick-ups on the ~100m straights and recover on the curves. I like a middle or outside lane for these to give a slightly longer recovery curve. All other miles have been junk miles. *Dave may change Cody to Code even though it sounds cuter.
  5. Running Loopy

    Flying Pig 2018!

    So...it's me...and yes, I'm still alive (ob-viously... -Snape). So - I was talking to my brother a couple of weeks ago, and both of us are restarting things in a more serious manner. So, he has told me that my Christmas gift this year from him is an entry to the Flying Pig half...Yay! I can't wait...it was my first ever half back in 2009, and I'm so excited to be going back there for the 20th anniversary race! Woo hoo!! So - I'll be posting my training and stuff in here, and I'll be starting soon as I'm basically completely rebuilding. So, looking forward to the support I know and love from this group and that has guided me through my previous big races.
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