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  1. Today
  2. It's 7:02 and I just hopped off my friend's Vespa at the entrance to the park. I run to Lakeside for bib pick up. The lady tells me, "It's 7:04." FuckFuckFuckFuckFuck. The race starts at 7:10 sharp and I'm still a good 10 minute walk from the start line and my left shoe is on wonky. My hair is stupid from squishing my ponytail into the helmet and my hat is in my hand. What does a ten minute walk translate to in running? I find out soon enough when I hear the horn blow and I'm still a few hundred feet away. I stop to retie my shoe and then pick up the pace to the start. I wasn't going to actually race this race. My lungs have been crap. I'm 30 pounds heavier than when I ran this series two years ago. I've been injured all winter. But I'm going faster than I thought I could and feeling okay. The back of the pack is already gone and they are starting to take down the cones at the start as I fly through. I start my watch. 9:05 Huh. I didn't think I could run this pace right now. It feels sustainable. Is this comfortably hard? I don't remember anymore what that feels like. I don't remember what I'm supposed to feel like racing. I wonder if it's my muscles or my mind that are out of practice. This feels good and I decide to try to stick with this pace. So much for not racing. I come up to The Hill and I still feel okay. I'm picking off people at the back and getting picked off by faster people who were late like me. I focus on my effort. This is the hardest part of the race. It's so easy to burn yourself out on this hill and it's only halfway through the first mile. I'm working but I'm not burning. My lungs aren't on fire. I think to myself that I may have just pulled off that whole "equal effort" thing that they are always telling you to do on hills but I never seem to be able to do. I reach the crest and start to gun it on the downhill. I refuse to look at my watch just yet. I don't want to feel like I should be doing anything more or less. I'm working but I'm not burning. I know I used to push it so much more but I just don't feel ready. I don't think I'll be able to keep it going. I'm not there yet. I get to the mile marker and peek. 9:23 Okay. There was The Hill. Shake it off and get back to pace. Mile 2 is some downhill and some rollers. I'm still feeling good and fast. I think I can ride it out at this pace. I glance at my watch 8:50. Holy shit. I haven't seen an 8 on my watch in forever. A little voice whispers that two years ago I was flirting with the 7:50's at this point in the race but I let myself let that go. Those aren't my paces anymore. I haven't put in the work for those paces and I'm so much heavier now. I let myself accept that I am working on both things but neither one is immediate. I hold on and click off the mile at that pace. Mile 3 starts on the big downhill. Here is the best part of the whole park. It's the payoff for The Hill and all the rollers. I fly and I start to get to that edge but I know I don't have the discipline to hold it. I let myself fly while I prepare myself for the next part. It's the worst part of the race. It's flat and wide and there's nothing to look at. I tell myself that I can not hold whatever pace I am at once I get to the flat and I need to be okay with that. I need to know it's coming and not see my slowing pace as a failure. I am on a downhill. I should be going faster here than there. I steal one glance at my watch. 8:19 Oh it feels so amazing to feel my legs move this fast. I let myself just enjoy it while lasts. If I could close my eyes and just feel it, I would. But I get to the bottom and the hard part begins. Every race in this park ends after this section and years of conditioning have taught me to hate it. This is where you hurt. This is where you struggle. This is where you do everything in your power to hold on. This is where your lungs burn and your legs scream and you have a million arguments with yourself to just keep going, keep pushing. I don't think of the distance. I know I'm slowing but I don't look at my watch. I set my eyes on each bend in the road far out in front of me. Three turns to the finish. Two turns to the finish. It's just after that last turn. I hear someone come up behind me and I let them kick past me. Don't chase them. You're not there yet. Just keep this pace. You're doing well. Just hold on. I cross the finish line at 28:18. And I'm so happy and proud of myself. I check my watch again to make sure. My running has been so discouraging lately, I had no idea I could actually push myself. Immediately I know that I'll be back for the rest of the series. Immediately I know that I want to find that edge again between as fast as I can and faster than I should have. Immediately I know I want to remember how to burn.
  3. I don't think I can say it any better than CR did except..... I'm happy to have you closer!
  4. Owwww!!! Great job, Chris!
  5. Yesterday
  6. Man, those views are amazing but that course sounds T-O-U-G-H! Way to gut it out!
  7. Looks like a fun challenge! Way to gut it out.
  8. Seems like if it's a regular thing that everyone's GPS shows short of mileage and vertical that they'd look into it. But what do I know? Wishing you all the best back home.
  9. I'm sorry you've had so much stress in your life … glad you can be near your family now. You are smart and tough and beautiful and badass - so I have every confidence you'll create a great future. 😘
  10. Vertical Mile Challenge – June 15, 2019 Rocky Face Park | Hiddenite, NC Race 6/12 for 2019 goal! Halfway there! It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything, and that’s because my world has changed quite a bit in the last month. I’m now living back in my home state of North Carolina, and have a lot of time on my hands while I find a job. I haven’t been using all that time to run though. I’ve let the stress of everything (that I’ll write about some time) get to me and haven’t used running as an outlet for it, for some reason. Nonetheless, I was signed up to run the VMC and I wasn’t about to puss out of it – trained or not. An abbreviated version of the history of the race goes like this: In 2011, some dudes wanted to create a race in where you complete 5,280′ of vertical in the shortest distance possible. They happened upon a park that is 15 minutes from where I grew up, and voila! 2.2 mile loops, eight times, for 16 miles and 5,280′ of vert. All aboard the pain train! Jenster is the one that told me about this race. It was only $25 to register and is SO close to where I’m living and grew up. It was such a no brainer! I hadn’t ran in three weeks leading up to the race and finally got in a few runs the week of the race. My niece and nephew are great running motivators and ask me every day if we can go running! Jenster and I The race started at 8am, so I got up at 5:45 so that I could leave by 6:30, get a great parking spot, and pick up my packet. It was a cool morning, and in the upper 50’s when I got there. There were just over 200 people running, which is the biggest group they’ve had thus far. Word is getting out, apparently. There were plenty of PoPs and a bathroom so I even got to use a real toilet! The smaller size of this race was perfect. This shows the bit of pavement we had to run on and the part of the rock that people climb. Not knowing a bit of the course or exactly what to expect, I started in the middle of the pack. We ran for less than a quarter of a mile on pavement and then hit the trail. Right away you could see there were going to be lots of roots – they had spray painted most of them bright orange. It was crowded up until we reached the rock face about half a mile in. I was not warmed up enough before we started the hike uphill. My first start up the hill While it was still cool, you could tell that rock was going to heat up quick – there wasn’t a breeze yet either. The straight uphill portion was at least a half a mile long and felt like it’d never end. I was using the footwork I’d learned while mountaineering in the snow – taking sideways steps so that I didn’t burn up my calves. Others were also using the switchback strategy so as not to go straight up the rock, which I did some as well. There wasn’t a trail so you just made your own way up the rock face. At the top, they had a water only station that was stocked with ice cold water. It tasted like the best water I’d ever had in my life. When you get to the top, you run through the woods briefly and get to another small rock portion, then hit the woods again and start going downhill. There were lots of switchbacks, rocks, and roots. This was a great way to start my NC racing again! I actually missed those roots! Towards the end of the loop, you come to another rocky portion and this is the portion you can see from the parking lot. This is also the portion that people rock climb on. There was a really steep part that was killer on the feet and toes! Just before you get to the start/finish line, there are some rock stairs and then you’re back on the pavement. At the start/finish, there is a bigger aid station with food and other drinks. I didn’t get anything after the first loop and just kept going. I should also note that when I crossed the line, my watch was reading just under 2 miles. Focus! Just after I started the second loop, I tripped and fell. I wasn’t picking my feet up enough, caught my toe on a root and BOOM! It was enough to scrape the skin off the top of my left knee (the knee that ALWAYS takes the hits!) and a little off my other knee too. My left wrist was what I caught myself with so it was a little scraped up as well. I didn’t run nearly enough trails in CO so I’m going to love getting use to it again! NC trails are far better than CO trails, in my opinion. Anywho, I had a few people ask me if I was ok and I gave them a thumbs up. It hurt for maybe a 10th of a mile and then it was fine! Just a flesh wound! I told one of them that I was due for some trail rash. Scraped the skin right off! It wasn’t long before I started seeing people getting treated by medical folks. I was also hearing that they had received a 911 call from someone and were looking for them. Shit was getting real and we were all starting to see and feel the effects of the terrain and heat. I didn’t consume anything besides water until after the third loop, which was a Huma gel and half a banana. When I hit the halfway mark, it was just over two hours and I ate a lot more. I grabbed some Gatorade, a pickle chunk, half a banana, and took a packet of 3 salt tabs. It hadn’t even dawned on me that I should have brought more salt tabs. I was lucky I even had the one pack. This was definitely early on in the race… haha! I had been playing leap frog with several people and kept seeing the same faces. The winner had finished before I even hit the halfway mark. I was also getting lapped by some folks as well. At this point, it was hard to tell who was on what lap and you didn’t really know unless you asked. A lady came up from behind me on the first or second lap and was asking me what model of Altras I was wearing. She said she’d never heard of the Timps and would be looking into getting some. We’d run into each other during all but the last two laps and she’d started calling us the Altra gals. She would pass me on the uphill and I would pass her on the downhill. I even started to “ribbet” when I went by her – haha! That 57 year young lady ended up beating me by 20 minutes! By the way, that’s the farthest I’ve ever run in the Altras and they were great! I’m on the far left I started off fueling well but didn’t continue to. I wasn’t taking in nearly enough when I needed to. I was only drinking a cup of Gatorade and eating half a banana. One of the laps I dipped a potato in salt and ate that – all that salt tastes so gross! The sixth lap was the worst and I was feeling pretty bad by the end of the seventh lap. I had been feeling like I was going to cramp up since the halfway mark, and I was just hoping and praying that it’d hold off – that could be a serious game changer. I even thought about this race possibly being my very first DNF. My back was also getting super tight and I kept having to bend over to stretch it out. However, my brother, sister-in-law, and three kiddos had come out to see me finish! They were there in time to see me start the last lap. I got some food and talked to them for a minute. My nephew and nieces didn’t know what to think about how I looked and that I was scarfing down watermelon, pickles, and banana and drinking Gatorade – all of which I could barely carry over to the bench, haha! By that time, I was averaging 40-45 minute loops so I told them I’d be back in about that amount of time. As soon as I took off for the last loop, I felt re-energized and great! Seeing them was what I needed to finish strong! There was a much smaller field at that point, and I felt like I was way in the back of finishers. I was letting the aid station volunteers know that it’d luckily be the last time I saw them! When I crossed the finish line in 4:46, my family was there to record me finishing. My nephew thought my bloody knee was the coolest and he was getting down really close to look at it. He hugged me and told me he was proud of me, dawwww! It’s over! Race Stats: Starters: 203 | Finishers: 184 | Gender Place: 25/48 | Overall Place: 128/184 Garmin Distance: 16 miles (supposed to be 17.4) | Garmin Vertical: 4,091′ (not 5,280′) I noticed a comment on Strava that the course has been off every year and that everyone always gets the vertical amount that I got. That is WAY off, by more than 1,000′! I wasn’t getting the 2.2 miles per loop either. I thought that I wasn’t getting a good GPS signal. Maybe that’s still true? Surely it wouldn’t be off that much and they still claim it as a vertical mile race…. who knows. Post Race It’s been three days since the race and I have been SORE AF! Getting on and off the toilet is THE WORST. This is certainly in the top of times that I have been the most sore. This time last year I ran the Leadville Heavy Half and I think I was this sore after that as well. I plan to run this race again next year so this will just be the weekend of pain from here on out! I’d love to make this a yearly occurrence! I also plan to get out there and run and hike the course as often as possible. It’s so close! Hopefully I’ll actually be ready for it next year. I haven’t signed up for a July race yet but it will likely be a 5K with my 8 YEAR OLD NEPHEW!! Yaaaaassssss!
  11. Last week
  12. Dave

    That Went Well

    I've penciled in New Hampshire (Bristol). It's the right weekend and just close enough to drive if we decide to make it a road trip. A small race (<200), but scenic, around a lake. Hilly.
  13. ocrunnergirl

    That Went Well

    Several comments: 1) Tempos - I feel like I haven’t run one of those in forever! Nice work. 2) I did 4 x 400s last week (with jet lag) and ran 1:52s consistently. No idea if that’s good or bad. Was happy with the effort. You must’ve found your groove on the last few at low 1:40s 3) I don’t think you ever mentioned what race you were training for??
  14. SIbbetson

    That Went Well

    9.5 hours of sleep seems like the best Father's Day gift anyone could ask for - happy Father's Day!
  15. eliz83

    That Went Well

    It's so nice to read about a training week for you that has absolutely nothing hay-wire in it. Congrats! and Happy Father's Day.
  16. Dave

    That Went Well

    Two things I can think of why Monday's tempo went better than awful. The last few years I've needed a couple of days after donating blood to feel back to normal. So I had plans for an easy run instead of Monday's normal tempo. I hydrated more than normal, and it was only 65 degrees again. June has been pretty good that way around here so far. The week before I struggled to average 8:15's for 4 miles. This time it was a smooth 8:04. Tuesday was not bad, either, although there were stomach issues. Fortunately, I ran Kate's Loop again, which passes in front of a friend's house (Kate is their daughter, who's one of the kids in my Sunday School class) and the mom is a stay-at-home, so I knew someone was likely to be there and let me in. Worst case I could have made it to the park, but that would have added mileage to my day and I wasn't really feeling the extra distance. Interval Wednesday I went against my just vow to stay off of the track and went to the track. Since it hadn't rained for a couple of days I thought I'd try the shortcut through the woods. Bad idea. It was really messy and before I could get to the school grounds I had to balance across some fallen trees to stay out of several yards of standing water. There was a deer at the edge of the woods, watching me the whole time. She even stayed around for the workout. School is out for the summer and a crew was out installing new astroturf on the football field. But lanes 4-6 were open, so I used them for the 10 x 400s I was doing. These went OK. Not as fast as 2014, but I'm older now, right? The first 6 were all between 1:48-1:50, #7 was 1:53 and my left hammy started to tickle a tiny bit. So I switched directions, hoping that would take care of it, and it did. The last three were 1:43-1:43-1:42. Getting home was sufficiently difficult that I knew I'd done it about right. When I run this much it's harder to avoid repeating routes, so I've taken to running on different sides of the road and calling it different. Thursday and Friday were out and backs on Seven Mile Road to Hillcrest Street. 8:51/mile on Thursday and 8:40 on Friday. It was dark and blustery on Thursday in addition to being the day after intervals. Saturday I did 8, with 4 at GMP in the middle. I want to spend some quality miles at GMP this summer. I think I've missed that the past few marathons. It was a good day for it, nice and cool (65o) in the morning. I'd like to be about 8:20-30 for these. 8:17, 8:11, 8:23, 8:16. Too fast, and the legs let me know. I don't want to feel quite so beat at the end of the long run. More control. Anyhow, 39 miles for the week, exactly to plan. Quality runs were just about where I hoped they'd be. A very good Week 2. After the run Saturday I helped T-Rex with some homework, watched the final episode of "Good Omens", then did some work on her car. She'd been to the dealer earlier in the week for her (second) airbag recall notice and they did their "courtesy" 99 point (or whatever) inspection, recommending $1,000 worth of work be done on this 2001 Civic with 140K miles on it. I re-checked the things on their list, through out a couple that were obviously no needed, and spent $50 at O'Reilly's to get some new spark plugs and drive belts. Then we switched the plugs and looked for an small oil leak. The belts will have to wait until next weekend. Then dinner at Red Robin. I love the Banzai Burger. For Fathers Day I slept in until 7:00. Since I'd gone to bed early as well, I scored almost 9-1/2 hours of sleep. Nine and a half! Home made pizza, with a new, winner of a crust recipe, and apple pie (of course) for dessert. For gifts, they gave me a new grass trimmer (the old one died in smoke and flames two weeks ago) and a pair of Balega sox. What else does a Dad need? I got ties. Another 40 mile week coming up.
  17. eliz83

    Updates that couldn't wait!

    I'm so glad you didn't wait to share this update! Can't wait to see how Grandma's goes for you!
  18. Earlier
  19. Happy belated birthday
  20. SIbbetson

    May Recap

    The last time I raced a half with bronchitis I ran 1:28 - this is truly the only 5 minute PR I'll ever get, hahaha!
  21. eliz83

    Who doesn't love a week off?

    I sort of like rolling hills. That course looks like it would suit me really well. But I am weird and like hills.
  22. The Loop would like to wish all members celebrating their birthday today a happy birthday. RunningPlaces9919 (55)
  23. DrWhiskers

    Who doesn't love a week off?

    Fancy font for a fancy guy? Congrats to Mrs Dave for choosing your next marathon! NH will be gorgeous in early Oct.
  24. Steal away! It could translate to any pace - 6 at MGP, 1 tempo, 5 at MGP, 1 tempo. I did 2 warm up and 3 cool down for an 18 mile day.
  25. SIbbetson

    Who doesn't love a week off?

    I don't like a week off running! ;-) That definitely looks like a good course to negative split. You will have so much fun!!
  26. 5:45 is a better goal.
  27. Dave

    Who doesn't love a week off?

    Plenty of people, I'm sure. It takes all kinds to make a world. Relationships are funny things. Sometimes you do things that you wouldn't normally do. Call it compromise. Flexibility. Love. Weakness. With a late spring marathon for 2019, it made so much sense to me that plans for my other marathon this year would involve something in November or even early December. I keep a spreadsheet with several options for different times of the year. I look at it when it's time to pick one. Mrs. Dave's plans are all in her head, so we usually have several discussions about what won't mess up something more important while I settle on a target. I know, "What could be more important than my next marathon?" I don't get it myself, but there are a lot of things in this world I don't understand. Anyway, there are races from September (way too early) to November I was looking at. I was thinking late October or November. That was going to give me a week or two off, then a few weeks to get my running legs back under me, then I'd start my 18 week training plan. Mrs. Dave had a better idea, which turned out to be early or mid October. The first weekend, in fact. There went my time off. Marathon training started last week on Monday. I had one week off. I'm OK with it. After so much time off last year, and a modest training cycle leading up to Vermont, I was sort of itching to see if the knee (and everything else) would hold up. Week 1 was a success. The more ambitious schedule has me back to Tempo Mondays and Interval Wednesdays, with easy (tired) miles on the other days. It worked before, so we'll see if I can recapture the magic for another serious attempt at Boston. Oh yeah, the race. I'm still concentrating on the New England states, just in case I move west again before I finish. This time's it's going to be the 27th Annual NH Marathon in the bustling metropolis of Bristol (pop. 3,054) on Saturday, October 5. There were 158 entries last year. The winner ran 2:49. The winner of my new 60-69 AG ran 4:06. Not super excited about the elevation in the first half, but if I can survive that I should be set for a good strong negative split. It's worth a try. Entry is only $70. So, first week of training went fairly well. Finished all the miles anyway. Monday's tempo was in the 8:15 range. 4 miles, 6 total. Wednesday's intervals (Global Running Day!) were 3 x 1200 @ 7:15. It was 82o so not very comfortable. But the pace was certainly good, so I'll take that as a win. The other days were all 8:45-9:00, feeling tired from the speedwork, just like it's supposed to. 37 miles total, exactly to plan. Yesterday Mrs. Dave and I donated blood. That will likely have an effect on today's tempo. This may turn out to just be an easy (slow) run. At least temps are only in the 60's, so I don't have to battle the elements as well. So it begins.
  28. Yeah, she's been pretty quiet as long as I switch up my terrain.
  29. Dave

    Updates that couldn't wait!

    Not to mention two weeks out is the perfect time for a perfect workout. I love this one, btw. I want to steal this (not at that pace, of course) for my fall race.
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