Write a race report my hearts not in or navel gaze about race recovery? Door #2? Great.
Was feeling like I'm not bouncing back after a recent marathon and I decided to seek some facts from the marathons I have records of my after training for (not going to track down the paper ones, can't track down the ones I wrote on my mirror in college in dry erase marker, and the internet ate some when different platforms changed their programs and didn't store/migrate info...hmm, sound familiar?).
Total miles in the 7 days after race
Max distance in first 7 days (mi)
So there's the data I found. Answer: I should give myself a break, things are pretty normal. This is close to my low (2013), but that was after another race I found killer. Also, por lo visto, I only followed that zero mile week rule 1x.
OK, I'll talk a little about my marathon. Part of the toughness came from terrain. The other tough part was that I ran many miles alone, some where I couldn't see anyone in front of me (note: not because I was winning). One of the folks cheering commented that I was like the lone ranger. Tell me about it, lady! By about 1/2 way through I was thinking of Modest Mouse (see title) and passing the miles by thinking about who would have enough to think about to fill up 26 lonely miles.
After ~18mi I saw I was going to miss my B goal the thought passed my mind: what are your trying to prove? This had also passed my mind a few weeks before during a hot race I ran with my team. I'll see my note above about giving myself a break. I guess some days I just don't see the point in killing myself. It doesn't mean I won't PR again. Just means it wasn't my day. Anyway, given that I'm feeling a little burnt, I'm gonna try to take a few weeks and regroup then focus on some shorter races with my team to round the year out.
The disadvantage of coming of age in the early ‘70s is that there was no such thing as a professional runner. We were amateurs, every one of us. Now, I know what you’re thinking: But seriously, AB, were you actually good enough to run professionally? And of course, that question is completely beside the point. Back then, Steve Prefontaine was tending bar in Eugene, Oregon, when he wasn’t breaking every American record. And as for me, I was…well, never mind.
But those days are long gone, and consequently, a great injustice is being rectified. That’s right: I’ve turned pro.
It all started with the good people at Brooks, who launched a clever publicity stunt an ambitious talent search a few months back. Brooks offered corporate sponsorship and the cash that comes with it if I allowed them to lure me away from my life of amateurism. And no, of course it wasn’t just a way of getting me onto their e-mail list. The beauty of it is that I’ve been a Brooks loyalist ever since their Ghost shoe was only at #4 and my feet swore they would never slide into anything else. I’ve worn every model number since then, including a Ghost 7 “Kaleidoscope” limited edition that nearly caused seizures at the Boston Marathon starting line.
So no, I’m not a corporate sellout. I’m the real deal, following both my heart and my paycheck to a whole new life.
And speaking of that paycheck, it came with this spiffy contract confirming my status as a duly compensated runner for Team Brooks.
Sure, the teller at the bank smirked a little when he cashed the accompanying check,
but there it was. And it didn’t bounce, either. Now it was up to me to live the life of a pro, and represent the Brooks organization properly.
The Instagram pages of other professionals showed me the way. First, you have to post a lot of food shots to show that you’re eating healthy, non-processed meals and making them in interesting ways. Since I’ve been a few pounds over my optimum weight, I swore off my usual bagels in favor of chia-studded oatmeal to go with my poached eggs, fruit, and black coffee for breakfast.
Pumpkin pancakes? Those will have to wait for special occasions and pre-race carb-loading binges. And speaking of pumpkin pancakes, if I want to make my mark as a pro I really need to publish my own cookbook.
I once stole a spinach-and-watermelon salad recipe from a restaurant in Hood River, Oregon, and I already know I make better roasted brussels sprouts than Shalane Flanagan, so why not?
I’ve also learned that the difference between pros like us and mere amateurs is lots of core and strength training, all of which have to be documented in pictures. So here I am fulfilling my planking obligation.
Planks suck, but those days of taking the easy road are over now.
Of course, being a professional also means periodic training retreats to high elevations.
The irony here is that, now that I’ve turned pro, I can no longer afford Atombuddy’s Deluxe High Altitude Training Center, my go-to destination from years past. It seems the dollar (or in this case, a dollar) doesn’t go as far as it used to. But you also have to post shots of local training locations that are either blissful or badass, depending on your mood. So here’s Gladiator Hill, a merciless climb on the route between the Rose Bowl and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
New gear? It’s all part of the lifestyle. Unfortunately, I still had to pay $119.99 for my shiny new Ghost 10’s at the local running store.
But their awesome midfoot support caresses my high arches in such a loving way that I could really use another pair for proper shoe rotation (hint, hint). I’ve also noticed that the other pros wear colorful socks. So instead of my usual, boring white Balegas, I decided to embrace my inner fashionista and purchase a pair of…gray Balegas.
Balega people, I’m still waiting to hear from you.
With all of that said and done, there was nothing left to do but race. Unfortunately, a lengthy, nagging piriformis inflammation has kept me from doing much of that. But I’ve noticed that my fellow professionals always seem to be injured, or rehabbing an injury, or on the verge of getting an injury, so I guess that puts me in good company. Now I may lack cool pictures of myself on an Eliiptigo or Alter-G, or pool running, or getting a bunch of wicked-looking electrodes stuck onto my lower body parts, because I don’t have access to any of those things. Most of my treatment consists of boring everyday stuff like ice packs and ibuprofen. But I do have the very photogenic resistance-band crabwalk.
This exercise strengthens the glutes, taking pressure off the piriformis. It also never fails to get a laugh from Mrs. AB, which is definitely worth something.
Even at half strength, with mileage remaining stubbornly below 30 per week, the lure of competition has become too strong to resist. This is due, in part, to a pair of colleagues. Since the beginning of the school year I’ve been doing a long-term assignment, subbing for an 8th grade Language Arts teacher on medical leave. Two math teachers at our school—amateurs both—had been training for the Long Beach Half Marathon and frequently asking me for advice. And that’s what we pros do: give our time generously to those who look up to us. Now I know what you’re thinking: If you’re such a professional, AB, what are you doing with a regular job? Well, ever since a realtor, Sarah Vaughn, qualified for the U.S. team at the World Championships, real jobs are all the rage. Besides, it keeps me humble. So once I managed to get my long run back up to 10 miles, I gave in and registered for Long Beach myself, in order to show up those teachers show solidarity with my fellow runners.
The race was last weekend. On Saturday, I headed down to the expo early, because I had to make a personal appearance for you-know-who.
And on Sunday, I had to make a decision: do I strut my stuff with the elites, or lay low and blend in with the amateurs? Well, considering the poor quality of my race fitness, my complete lack of speedwork, and a piriformis that screams, “Mayday!” when I so much as drop down to tempo pace, I chose the latter. In fact, due to a last-minute port-a-potty stop, I got caught in such a bottleneck entering the corral that I had to start in Wave 2. Not that it mattered: given my recent workout paces, I figured a 1:55—that’s over 14 minutes slower than my 2014 PR—was the best I could hope for. And that’s pretty much how it played out. I settled into an 8:45 pace early, and managed to hold it consistently even when it got tough in the last three miles. My final time was 1:54:42, because I pushed it hard at the end to stay below that 1:55.
I waited around in the beer garden afterwards, listening to the band and hoping to spot my teaching friends. But it’s a big race, and it’s easy to miss connections. I later found out that they ran a 2:03 and a 2:10, so I retained bragging rights at Muscatel Middle School. My piriformis hurt near the end of the race, but not enough to stop me. Now I’m sitting on ice a lot, drinking Bloody Marys and debating whether to ask for a cortisone shot. After all, nobody said that being a pro would be easy.
I need accountability.
There are random sticky notes around my house with motivational fitness quotes. Some of them have come down. The rest have become white noise that should come down.
I read an article a few months ago about training with your cycle and adopted the strategy which basically gave me permission to take it easy on the days I feel most like taking things easy. According to the article however, the first week of my cycle is supposed to be the week to amp up the high intensity workouts. If you say so crazy. For two months, I've been trying this method, but staying in bed on days one and two.
Yesterday was filled with crazy food cravings. I did fine at work. Then I came home and was researching those fitbits everyone seems to be wearing when suddenly I just had to have the butterfinger my boyfriend has been keeping on top of my refrigerator. Why he leaves these things at my house is beyond me. And it has been up there for a few months, but the urge to eat something sugary was so strong it was like my brain turned off until I was savoring every bite of that damned candy bar while hating the way my pants fit.
This morning it was tempting to use my go back to bed it’s Day 1 excuse. But the articles I read said this should be a strong day to push myself and if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be able to report a week where I gave 100%
Also: “The only workout you regret is the one you didn’t do.” or something like that.
So I got dressed. Ginny refused to find a satellite this morning. I think she’s throwing a tantrum because I was looking at slimmer watches. I have my sights set on a the Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon next summer. I might consider new technology after that. I’d kinda like something I can wear all the time and I like the heart rate monitor feature on the watch instead of the chest band. I'm also intrigued by the concept of being reminded to move every hour since my job consists of a lot of desk time. I wonder if there are 250 steps between my office and the organ loft.
No signal? Fine. I started the timer. I know the route. Past my friends house. We were going to summit Sehale this summer but cancelled the trip due to the difficulty of getting a permit to stay overnight and the fires which made for poor air quality and visibility. At community choir I invited her to run with me. She’ll consider a Saturday run but 5:anything am is insanity in her book.
Flashlight in hand for the dark part of Regatta this morning. I finished the first mile by the elementary school and told myself the skip the walk break. My goal this week is the run the entire three miles without walk breaks. Mile 2 is all a slow decline. Mile 3 starts on a gradual hill. A girl came out of the one of the apartments and from several yards away I startled her with a cough. She stepped completely off the sidewalk and waited. Strange. I passed, said good morning and saw in the dim dark that she was holding a tree branch over her head. TreeGirl?
I told myself I could take a walk break at the intersection where the hill crests, but that I probably wouldn’t want it. All downhill from there.
Lies all lies. I ran through the traffic signal and kept on running. But it's not all downhill from here. At the corner I have another .2 miles to go and it's a hill. Not as steep as the hill on the back entry, but still, why must I finish on an uphill?
I argued with myself all the way to the corner and then figured that I’d come this far without any walk breaks so why stop now? Sure Ginny wasn’t giving me distances this morning, but I knew from Saturday’s run that the 3 mile mark was the red boat.
Finish strong. Finishing on a hill will prepare me to give a good final push on race day.
I stopped at the boat. 36:27
Thursday I’ll run all the way to the corner.
Thanks for the accountability guys.
So I was lying in bed the night before the race. As one does, I mentally went over the course - all the turns and hills and how I should feel at different parts of the course. Strategy and splits. Often this leads to nerves and many minutes of restlessness and anxiety. But this time, I wasn't feeling any pressure. This would be the 17th time I've done this race. The 103rd 10K of my career. I knew what to expect. I had goals, but they didn't seem to matter that much. I quickly drifted off to sleep.
My low-key summer of running went well. The last month of increased miles went well. I was still injury-free and feeling good! My goal was to beat last year's time of 44:28. even though I didn't figure to be in as good condition. Then I thought I would really like to go under 44, or get close to 7 minute pace (43:24) if possible. My old man PR of 42:58 (on an easier course) seemed out of reach. So I planned to go out about 7:15 and hopefully pick it up and see how it went. But again, no pressure. I really just wanted to enjoy the race, not suffer too much, finish strong and do my best. Oh, yes, I also hoped to place top ten in my AG and get a medal. At 55, I was the youngster in my AG, and figured I had a shot, although this race attracts all the fast folk and it's very competitive. I have yet to medal here, although I got 11th four years ago and 15th the last two years.
So it's a beautiful morning. A little warm, as it would get to 85 later, but at 7:30 it was still cool enough and lots of shade. This was the 40th anniversary race and had a record crowd of 3,600 people (including 50 who have run all 40 races). Our running club was out in force, as this was our hometown race; Probably 50 of us in our matching shirts. Said hi to many of them as we warmed up. There were one guy and gal specifically that I train with that are very close to my speed. So another goal was to beat them. Got in my usual spot about ten rows back, and off we went.
The course has a bunch of turns at the start and lots of rolling hills. Then at mile 5 is a killer hill before you get to come down to the beach for the last mile along the coast.
Plus you get to finish here.
The start was smooth. Not too crowded. I found a comfortable pace around 7:25 the first quarter mile, then gradually got into race pace. Mile 1 came through in 7:07, which seemed about right, and easier than 7:07 should feel. I told myself to hold back, stay in control. The key on this course is to save something for mile 5. A too fast start makes those little rolling hills very painful. So I was practicing restraint and just going with the flow.
Not that it was easy. It was still work. But in a race, 7:07 in mile 2 feels a lot easier than say running 7:07 in a tempo run. I controlled my breathing up the hills. Opened up my strides on the downhills. Restraint was my mantra. Controlled speed. Long way to go. Mile two was another 7:07 and I was passing all the fast starters, including several from my club that had no business being ahead of me anyway.
Mile three is a long straight stretch with a few ups and downs. Most years I am suffering pretty bad at this point. I remembered last year thinking "Why do I do this to myself?" at this point. But this year I was not suffering. I was feeling pretty confident! Oh, there was pain, but I felt under control. Mile three was another 7:07! Well! (I thought) It looks like you are going to beat your goals! Some quick math told me if I could just get over the hill without collapsing, I could do my usual fast finish and be under 44!
Once I cleared the little hill at 3.2 and still felt good and did that math, that boosted my confidence even more. Mile 4 is a big downhill and I could see I was sub-7. Still I tried to restrain myself. My breathing was getting heavier and I was coming up on the big hill, so I tried to dial it back a little. But I also passed my coach (and rival) here and that gave me a boost. Mile 4 was 6:53 and I still had some juice in my legs.
Good thing, because that hill goes up about 90 feet in 0.3 miles. I obediently shortened my stride, put my head down, and tried to maintain momentum without straining too much. By the top I was gasping, but the lactic acid build-up wasn't too bad, really, and I shook out my arms and worked on regaining oxygen while I cruised down the backside. Mile 5 was 7:05, which I think is the best I've ever done that mile. (Yes, I checked. Usually I am over 7:30 in mile 5.)
So I hit the long beach straightaway with 1.2 miles to go, and for once I wasn't already completely toast. I slipped into a faster gear and steadily picked off stragglers. Then I saw my friend and rival, Cathy, up ahead. She had beat me by ONE second in our last race on July 4th. She was about 20 yards ahead and I was gaining, so I knew I could get her. That helped me push on through the suffering which had finally come on board. Now I was heavy breathing and working and the legs were starting to get heavy and falter. But you know, not as bad as other times. I knew I had a good time and a shot at a medal so I tried to pick up every second I could. Mile 6 came through in 6:41, and I was accelerating. I blew by Cathy right about mile 6 and beat her by TWO seconds. The last stretch I was at 6:06 pace and I finished at 43:31. Just a hair over 7:00 pace. Almost a minute faster than last year, and only 17 seconds off my old man course PR of four years ago. My age-grade was 72%, which must be one of my top scores.
So I was very happy! Not only for the time, but because I ran the perfect race. Moderate start, fast finish, limited amount of suffering.
Now I just had to wait and see how I placed. I found my other rival. He had beat me by 11 seconds. Good for him. Finally results were posted...and I got 11th. Whomp whomp...My rival was 10th and got the last medal. Five of the ten were from my club. One just turned 55 this week! I was 171st overall (of 3600). So I was disappointed, but not too much. Because what's one more medal - I've got a wall full of them. But the feelings of running a perfect race and nailing a good time - well that's better than a medal anyway.
Here are my rivals, Cathy, who I beat by two seconds, and Bartlett, who got me by 11 seconds. Until next time!
So I'm optimistic and excited to keep on increasing my mileage. Next race is only 5 weeks away - a half in Ft. Lauderdale during my annual golf buddy road trip. Already thinking of 1:37? 1:36?
Life is good.
I've been severely lacking in miles in September as I dealt with the stress of the house purchase and then having to pack up my life and move to my parents until I actually close on the house or the deal goes dead and I have to find a new rental. No idea why I always give running the short end of the stick when I'm stressed because it's probably what I need most. I plan to get back to it tonight after my work day wraps up. I'm at our State capitol office this week and next week for special meetings but I stay at the same hotel I always do and have a great running path behind the hotel. I've been averaging about 6-8 miles or less per week for 6-8 weeks and my body is looking like I'm sitting on the couch eating buckets of ice cream.
Was awake from 2-4 am this morning and finally gave up and read some of my library book. I woke feeling like I was suffocating. It's only a hit and miss on that feeling now. It's been a month or more since I felt like that in the middle of the night. Flash backs to my near drowning in July. I'm surprised at how many people think nearly drowning because you're trapped under an overturned canoe in deep water with strong river current is funny and that after 3 months it's o.k. to joke with me about it. Too soon for that. Waking up feeling like you can't breathe in the dark means my brain just doesn't find it funny. The conservation officers in my state office want me to talk to kids in their boating safety classes about the importance of wearing life jackets while kayaking and canoeing because of my experience. We lose a lot of people in drowning incidences in Michigan each summer because people aren't required to wear life jackets in kayaks, canoes and float tubes. It must be with you but you don't have to wear it. Had I not had mine on, I wouldn't be typing this. Please put your life jacket on. I'm an experienced canoe and kayak paddler and this still happened. 2 years ago an expert canoeist drown on the river I nearly did because of exactly what happened to me. Flip over, canoe flips on top of you, current sucks the canoe down with water and you can't get out from under it. It's just you in the dark water frantically trying to get out from under it. **shudder**
Thanks for letting me "talk" about it here - it helps. I'm glad fall is on the way for some wonderful miles to get my conditioning up to par before x-c ski season! Soon, I'll be saying this and I'm ready.. it's been way too humid! Plus, I'm nearly as padded as the person in that picture..
It’s been exactly one year since I went from Loop lurker to contributing Loopster!
I think of my running life in 2 parts: before baby and after. As a quick recap, I spent my 20’s running a few 5K’s each year with a 10K sprinkled here or there. I didn’t run in high school or college (at least not deliberately) but got in the habit with a group of ladies in grad school when we all needed the stress relief and break from the grueling program. Every time I ran with the girls or in a race, I just ran. This was before GPS watches and before I had heard the words fartlek or tempo. Just run. Most of my 5Ks fell in the 27 min range so certainly not speedy…I viewed myself as “slow, but determined”. My PR came in the New Haven Road Race, which is well known as the 20K USA Championships. I ran the 5K a few years in a row and dipped into the 26’s just once. That was what I viewed as the peak of my running for years!
Fast forward almost 10 years and I started my return to running after baby. DS turned 2 before I felt like I could balance working full-time, family time and adequate sleep with getting back in shape. My first 5K after baby was a slow 31:59. Yikes! Since then, I’ve focused on running consistently, first 3 days a week, then 4 and now 5, as well as following training plans that my friend/coworker/coach writes up for me. In April last year, I ran 25:5X and was thrilled. I beat 20-something year old me! This seems like too much back story…I know, this is supposed to be a race report! but bear with me because it puts today’s race in perspective.
I started training for my first marathon in August. Race is in January and since it’s my first, I have no time goal. My bigger goal is to finally run a sub2 Half in the build up, at hopefully a race in November. My Coach wanted me to run a 5K end of Sept/early Oct just to see how training is going and it was shockingly hard to find one that fit the bill. I live in San Diego which has an active running community and almost perfect running weather year round so there’s no lack of races. However, most of the races were either charity runs without timing or races done on the beach. Umm, no thanks. So I stumbled across the Grape Day 5K in Escondido, CA. It's allso the first 5K that I’ve done in a long time that costs < $50 (just $45 plus processing fees, grrrrr!). It’s a smaller race, with just under 1000 people and is about 30 min away.
DH decided he wanted to run and would push DS in the stroller. At 4.5 years old now, this isn’t the easiest task but is still doable. We arrived an hour before the start so DH would have time to do same-day registration which would turn out to be fortunate for us, as we almost always register ahead of time. We easily parked a block from the start line. Shout out to races that begin next to a mall or movie theater and therefore have plenty of parking! DH gets the stroller out of the trunk and we see this:
Oh crap. That won’t work. I did a 5 mile stroller run with DS the previous weekend and must have run over something. We had no Plan B. We’ve had DS run a mile race before but a 5K? Just not possible for his little legs yet. DH was pretty bummed and honestly pretty crabby about this most of the morning but what can you do?
I ran the prescribed 15 min warm up and then lined up at the start. As a local family-friendly race, there were a million kids and strollers and after a disastrous Turkey Trot last year, I’ve learned that I need to start closer to the front in these types of races. I was maybe 4 rows from the line, behind the local high school football team which I anticipated (correctly) would be easily passed around the half mile mark. Coach wanted me to run the race blind, wearing my watch but not seeing pace. Riiiight, I’ll try. My goal was just to run hard. I had a successful 5 x 1K workout 10 days prior to the race at right around PR pace so it seemed reasonable that I could beat it. Even though Santa Ana winds are blowing through the area, the morning was cool but I knew it would be 95 degrees in the blink of an eye.
First mile is flat and mostly straight. I started in perfect position so didn’t have to do too much weaving aside from the first minute or so. Buildings along the main street provided welcome shade and the temperature surprisingly wouldn’t be an issue throughout the race. I don’t look at my watch at all during the first mile and feel like I’m pushing it hard. At the one mile watch beep, I look down out of habit and see 8:22. Eek, felt a bit faster than that. The only elevation on the course comes in Mile 2 and I only knew this because I Strava-stalked some people that ran it in previous years about a week ago. I wish more race organizers would include elevation but it seems even a course map is sometimes too much to ask for. The hilly section is a half mile long but some very steep parts.
Not too crazy but enough that my pace slows considerably. When I see 8:56 for mile 2, I know a PR isn’t possible. This is probably why Coach didn’t want me to look at my watch at all…but I compromised and only saw the mile splits whereas usually I’d be looking much more often. After seeing how slow the second mile was, I wavered between slowing down because 5K pace is pain, and still trying to push through to run my hardest. Coach wasn’t expecting a PR, and it’s not what we are training for, she really just wants to gauge where I’m at.
So I tried to hang on the best I could, appreciating flat Mile 3 and running it in 8:10 with the last 0.12 in 7:24 for 26:21. I crossed the finish line and once I found DH and DS, I started whining about how I’m just not built to be fast. You know the spiel: “I’m running so consistently and doing all the workouts and fighting just to get 26:XX. Why is everyone else so fast? Some people hardly run at all and just jump into a race and Bam! It’s not fair! Maybe I finally need to lose these last 10 pounds! Or start running 50 mpw! Blah Blah Blah”. DH, still slightly annoyed that he just watched everyone run and couldn’t due to the stroller flat tire, just simply told me it was still a good time. What else could he do?
I grumbled a bit more and then ran another 15-20 min for a cool down. As I thought about the race and put things into perspective, I realized that I honestly haven’t run around this pace for a race very many times. Sure, I ran 30 seconds faster on a completely flat course in April, but this isn’t too far off. I’m running consistently, and importantly, WITHOUT INJURY! My paces in training are getting faster and I feel stronger. I just seem to have a bit of issue with coming through on race days.
The morning wasn’t all moping, DS got to meet the Grapes which made him ridiculously excited. It didn’t hit 95 degrees until an hour or so later which convinced us to spend the afternoon at the beach.
Texting with Coach afterwards provided more perspective. She basically said: “Sorry it wasn’t the race you wanted but it’s still a hard speed workout that will help you. Enjoy your long run tomorrow!” Haha
Chicago is my home town....I was born in that city and I go back at least once a year. Chicago has been one of my bucket list marathons for some time now; however, it turns out it is just not meant to be for me. At least not for me this year.
This all started about the first week of August when I was innocently changing weights on a barbell to do a little Les Mills Body Pump. I was bent over moving a weight bench and stayed in that position to put on the 10 lbs weights on each side of the bar. I went to stand up and nope...couldn't do it. I just couldn't stand up. I have never felt that way before....I ended up having to go to the emergency room, getting a shot and had to say off my feet for two weeks. Okay, two weeks suck, but all it does was take me out of the running to trying to get a PR at Chicago. Two weeks later I was back on the road.
I was running for about two weeks and then Hurricane Harvey hit Southern Texas. For those of you that don't know, I am a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force, stationed in Fort Worth, TX. As the Command Chief of the 136 Airlift Wing, we are Air National Guardsmen that are responsible to help take care of Texans when the Governor needs us. I spent 21 straight days working 14-16 hour days helping coordinate rescue and relief efforts. While this was happening I was getting up at 0400 to ensure I at least got in 5-7 miles before I went into work. It was tired, but I wanted to at least have miles on my legs to run Chicago.
I actually had a 1/2 marathon in Dayton, OH (Air Force Marathon/ Half Marathon) on September 16 as part of a team event. I was a last minute add on because one of the team had to drop. I ran a respectable 1:42 and we did well as a team. I flew home on the 17th, went to church with the family, watched a little football and then decided to go for a bike ride....HUGE MISTAKE.
I have decided to start training for triathlons, something different to do as I enter into my 50s. I borrowed a road bike, shoes, helmet, the whole package. This is the first time I even was on a bike that had clip in pedals. For those of you who have been on these you probably know what happened next. I didn't even get one evolution around on the bike, lost my balance and fell to my left. I couldn't get out of the clips in time. I tried to brace my fall by putting my arms out...Doing so lead to a large amount of pain. Pain like I have never felt before in my life. Long story long....I ended up going to the emergency room (second time in about 6 weeks) and was told I had a compressed radial head that actually led to a brake. I broke my elbow on my right arm. I also sprained my left wrist.
I went for a follow up appointment two days later and I did ask my doctor if I could still run the Chicago Marathon. This is what he stated "I would like you to consider taking up smoking"!!!! Huh?...What? Why would you suggest that, I asked. His response was priceless...Because taking up smoking is just about as stupid as running a marathon in your condition. Point taken (even though I think I could still have ran).
I was lucky enough to be able to defer my entry to 2018 (The cut off was the 19th) and am looking forward to running in my home town next year.
The good news is that I did not need surgery and I am still able to spin a little on an indoor bike. I also get to do some brisk walking and lower body exercises.
So for those of you who do give me "Kudos" on Starva, you see that I am not running much. It is not because I do not want to run, but rather just can't do it. I don't want to jeopardize anything getting in the way of me running Boston next April!
This is a copy and paste from my personal blog page, but I wanted to start somewhere!
I ran a bright, shiny new half marathon PR of 1:20:50 under circumstances that were not nearly as ideal as those I had for my previous PR of 1:21:26. I walked away from this race feeling like I'd nailed one of my best workouts ever, but not exactly like I'd raced or PRed (you'll have to read The Long for an explanation of why). However, the more I analyze this race the happier I become with it. I placed 5th overall, netted some cash, and best of all enjoyed an amazing weekend trip to Indianapolis with my parents.
Official results can be found here.
Sunny clock shot courtesy of my mama
I looked at a lot of fall halves trying to find the "perfect" goal race before deciding that none were. The major things I was looking for were: A) fitting into my schedule ( marathon training and non-running), B) likelihood of good weather, C) straight course/minimal turns, D) flat course, E) competitive field, and F) within driving distance. The Indianapolis Women's Half fit the bill on 5 of the 6, only missing requirement C), but the more courses I looked at the more I realized how hard it is to find one as nice as the White River half (which, alas, does not meet requirement A) this year since it is only 2 weeks before my goal marathon).
So I landed on Indy, and was accepted as an elite entrant and honored as one of the "5 Women to Watch" in the race. The race organizers were amazing and I was fortunate to be a part of this event. The race was on a Saturday, so I made the trip to Indy on Friday with my parents. Since I won't pull Albani out of school for a race, she and Jon weren't able to come. I treasure my time with my parents so greatly, which also meant that even if I bombed the race, it would be worth going to! I never got nervous for this race, and I think that was big part of why.
From the event program
More expo fun
I was quite excited for this checkpoint in my marathon training cycle. After 10 consecutive weeks of mileage in the 60s plus 2 weeks with mileage in the 70s, I had a 50 mile week the week of this race. While I may not have been completely rested since I ran 20 miles one week before the event, I was the most rested I'd been in months, and I also had the opportunity to race in NOT 70-80* with 100% humidity for the first time in months! I felt like a new woman!
Feeling like a new woman in the hotel room pre-race
Based on the "5 Women to Watch" and a handful of other elite entrants, I expected to have several woman right around my pace. I lined up on the starting line feeling very relaxed and ready to give it a go. I kept reminding myself to trust my training and to trust God, and to go get what I'd trained for! Nothing is ever guaranteed in these long races, but fretting about it never helps. I planned to aim to keep my pace at 6:05-6:10.
I'm looking weird on the starting line as per usual
At the gun, a lead pack eased out, and a check of my Garmin around a quarter of a mile in showed 6:05 pace as I settled in right behind the leaders. For a brief moment, I thought, "Perfect! Maybe this will be the 6:05 pace pack! Couldn't be better!" After that brief moment, I could feel 5 of the girls accelerating (the 2 others who were not accelerating were 2 I expected to drop off before the mile at 6:05 pace). I couldn't decide; should I risk going through the first mile in 5:55-6:00 for the benefit of running with the pack, or should I stick to my plan? I let them go and stuck to my pace. I knew that if they could maintain sub-6:00 pace, I could not compete with them, and if that was too fast for them, they would come back.
When 6:05 pace was briefly happening
The 5 quickly pulled away from me, and at the mile I gauged them as over 20 seconds ahead of me (I later spoke to one who said they went through in 5:45). I came through the mile in 6:08, right where I wanted to be, but so alone. I felt antsy during mile 2, and really had to hold myself back because I wanted to chase the leaders, and kept questioning my decision about not going with them. However, the gap grew and I settled into complete no man's (no woman's?) land. Somehow I could feel that no one was close behind me. With the turns on the course, I simply couldn't see anyone. I had to start paying attention to the course markings/signs, which the event did a really good job with (including course marshals at all turns), but which just takes extra work.
In regards to the course markings, in many places the cones on the road were set up in a way that did not allow you to run the tangents on turns and curves. When a course is certified, it is measured on the tangents of the road, but I noticed early on that many of the tangents were blocked. I knew I was not running the shortest route, but I didn't want to risk disqualification by going outside of the cones (and in some places the tangent was occupied by an aid station in the road, which I clearly could not go through). I was frustrated about this early on because I knew I was picking up extra distance, and there was nothing I could do about it. We all know I dislike anything out of my control!
Between miles 4-5, I picked up a cyclist escort. I believe there were 10 cyclists, for the prize money positions, but I am not sure why they didn't pick up with the runners until that far into the race. I sure needed my guy earlier! Having him was a great help in regards to navigating the course, but I think the cyclists were probably told not to aid the runners (as they should be), so it wasn't helpful pacing-wise. I was extremely thankful to have him to keep me on course though - no more thinking about markings and signs!
Between about 5.5 and 7.5, the course doubled back on itself, so I could see the runners ahead of and behind me. The leading 4 ladies were still pretty closely bunched when I saw them, significantly ahead of me (about 1:30). There had been 5 women ahead of me when I lost sight of them, but one of them was in the 5K (I hadn't been able to see the 5K turn off, but confirmed the 5K winner from the bib number in the photo above). At the time I thought maybe someone dropped out or stopped in a porta-potty, but regardless I knew I was in 5th at that point, with little chance of moving up. As I turned the other direction, I saw that 6th was farther behind me than I was trailing the leaders, so I also had little chance of being caught. I checked my watch at the 6.55 mile mat, and I was at 40:23, which was about what I wanted (the online results have the 6.55 splits wrong for everyone).
I pressed on, feeling solid at the pace I was at and happy with my splits, and also really channeling those long tempos that I'd done solo. I kept thinking, "This is just like that 8 mile tempo, only 5 miles farther" -- which I am really not sure was the most encouraging mantra I could have invented, haha! I've really been working on pacing by feel, and after the first 2 miles when I used my Garmin to ensure I didn't go out too fast, I only looked at it when it beeped mile splits. I believe all of my tempo runs have really helped me pace consistently. My pace felt like exactly what I could maintain for a half marathon, but at the same time it's intimidating to try something you've never done before so I hoped that the wheels didn't fall off before 13.1! I tried to focus on trusting -- trusting my training and trusting God -- but I kept coming back to, "It's just like those 8 mile tempos, just 5 miles longer." Hah.
Around mile 9.5, for the first time since about mile 1 I could see someone ahead of me! I realized that one lady had fallen off the lead group and even though she was still uber-far ahead of me, I was gaining. I told myself to give it my all to finish strong and to pull her in. I looked at my total time when I passed the mile 10 marker, and when I saw 1:01:35 (a huge unofficial 10 mile PR), I knew that it wasn't my day to break 1:20 because I knew I couldn't close with an 18:24 5K, but I also felt confident that I would PR.
I worked on pulling in #4 throughout the final 5K. Mile 11 felt great, and then the final 2 miles were into the wind. I truly believe that I maintained a 6:00-6:05 effort on those 2 miles, but when you're running into a 14 mph wind, that does not translate into 6:00-6:05 splits. Although this was a tough time to encounter the wind, I am thankful that much of the course had fantastic wind block, because the main other time I felt it was at the beginning of the race (which makes sense, since we started and finished in the same area). Also, for what it's worth, Strava gave me a grade adjusted pace of 6:02 for mile 13.
I was happy to see the mile 12 sign, and I knew I could gut out one more mile, but I was sure ready to finish! As we turned onto the final stretch, the finish seemed so reachable yet so far. I gained a lot of ground on #4, but not enough (she went on to finish in 1:20:40), and it was apparent I wasn't going to catch her by the long final stretch. It was a mental battle between easing off since I couldn't pass her, and going with all I had left to get the best PR I could. My kick was a far cry from my best (5:59 pace), but it was what I could do mentally and physically at that point, and that final half mile or so was the most prominent incline of the race (still very minor, but I could feel it!). I crossed in 5th in a new PR of 1:20:50. My dad's video of the finish is here, and the announcer even pronounced my last name correctly!
I guess I called it quite well when I noted here that I felt ready for a half PR but not ready for a 1:19! Although I'm very thankful for this race, I could also identify key factors that, if different, would have led to a faster time: A) less wind, B) people to run with, and C) being allowed to run the tangents. My Garmin read 13.19 at the end of this race, and in my last 3 half marathons it has read 13.10, 13.09, and 13.08, and it almost always reads slightly under on certified courses (it read 26.10 in my last marathon and 6.15 in a recent 10K). Whenever someone says their Garmin was right and the certified course was wrong, I am the first to say that, nope, your Garmin is wrong and the course is right; but we were not allowed to run the shortest route on the road, which is how courses are certified, and I think that cost me about 30 seconds. The course was right, we just didn't run the shortest route that it was measured on. My pace on my Garmin was 6:07.X (must have been 6:07.9+ because Garmin Connect rounded up to 6:08), and per the course was 6:09.96 (no, I am not rounding up to 6:10, bahaha!), so not a huge difference, but when you're chipping away at your PR, every second counts! A 1:19:59 takes 6:06.07 pace. Fun fact: my last 8 mile tempo was 6:07 pace, so this pretty much was just like that 8 mile tempo, just 5 more miles!
One of these distances is not like the others...
However, I've decided to let these factors boost my confidence that I can run faster. When I ran a 1:21 in Arizona, I wasn't sure if it was something I could top because everything aligned so nicely for that one; I am very pleased to beat that time when things did not align as well. The lower you work down your PRs, the more you really need that White Unicorn of race day conditions to improve them. I got a bit spoiled because I actually had those conditions for not one, but for three winter/spring races (Arizona Rock 'n' Roll half, BMO Mesa-Phoenix full, and the Wash U Distance Carnival 10,000 m). Maybe I can find them again at CIM, God-willing! When I told my coach about the race, he said, "You need to see what you can do on a straight course", and I look forward to doing just that.
I've also been thinking, we often discuss trusting God when things go wrong, but it's just as important when things go right! Throughout the race, I kept reminding myself to trust Him, and to relax and just remember that whatever He had in store for me that day was far better than anything I could have planned myself. Luckily, things went right in the form of a new PR, but regardless I trust Him and I trust the process.
"God is within her; she will not fail." - Psalms 46:5
My sweet dad
My sweet mom
One of these things does not belong (that would be ME!), w/ podcast affiliated runners & the race director
I got to post-race brunch with my dear friend Briony who was in Indy from Kansas!
The trip home
Now it's back to marathon training! Less than 9 weeks until CIM!
This week marks the first week months? years? That I have put in 6 days of exercise.
Monday: Elliptical 30 minutes
Tuesday: Elliptical 30 minutes AND a full day without any candy or the Brownies that people bring into work. HUGE!!!
Wednesday: Upper Body Weights
Thursday: 3 mile run 38:53 (Another awesome food day!!!)
Friday: 30 minutes Elliptical, Lower Body Weights New Leg Press PR: 210lb
Saturday: 3 mile run
A late night last night of pizza and movies at the BF’s=a late start this morning. Mookie came in for a rare morning snuggle and chatted with me while she played with the kittens who like attacking the blankets.
Marco and Jacque. Polo lives with the BF. Jacque goes to his new home this week.
At 8:30, I got up. “I need to go for a run.”
While I ate some cereal and folded just enough of the laundry to decide the leggings I wanted were not in that load, she played with the lego’s I “borrowed” from Bobby a week ago to build a castle with my BF.
I found the leggings I wanted near the top of the laundry hamper. They have pockets big enough to hold my phone so I could snap a few pictures for y’all. Breakfast in my belly, morning out of the way, I announced I would be back in about 45 minutes and headed out the door with Ginny. My head radio singing “I got a smartphone in my pocket and my left hand is sportin a 305”
Bobby is 13 and all three of them are able to put meals together but I feel guilty leaving them on a Saturday morning. I used to plan my long runs for the weekend’s they were at their Dad’s… It’s been a little over a month since he stopped having them for the weekend. I agree with his reasoning, but not the decisions he has made to put him in this position. So, I have the kids 100% of the time and it’s good but if I wait for a child-free weekend to go on a Saturday run, it won’t be happening any time soon.
When I returned I was pleasantly surprised by several awesome things 13 yo Bobby did in my absence: Bed made, showered and dressed, and then without being asked, he unloaded the dishwasher when he retrieved a cereal bowl from the machine of clean dishes
If you had been a fly on the wall over the past few months, you would understand my astonishment. Hoping the praise and thanks will do something to turn this into a new trend.
Same 3 mile route as Thursday but in reverse. Average Pace, 12:14 including walk breaks.
Mile 1: 12:08
Mile 2: 12:21
Mile 3: 12:14
Thursday’s Average Pace was 12:57
Running that 3 mile route in reverse is faster. Running in daylight hours I get to see this:
Top of Regatta aka “Resurrection Repeat Hill” in days of yore.
No big hills today. I turned at the cross walk sign.
Jingle Trail Run and Walk 5k at Camp Casey December 2. Filled out the registration form and wrote the check yesterday. Now where are my stamps?
Sometimes I stand in awe of the crap I've dealt with in life when others seemingly float through on the arches of rainbows with unicorns that poop gold nuggets. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Well, I'm Superwoman by now.
My house purchase has hit another delay and I'll be lodged at ma & pa's in the basement till the end of October it seems. I have no words for the asinine process of dealing with mortgage companies and the documentation needed to prove you aren't in possession of a car you turned in on a lease 2 months ago. Prove you don't own something? That's harder than you might assume to do in regards to mortgage rules and documentation. Seems that the disposition papers and documents from GM financial just don't meet the needs of my mortgage company.
I made the mistake of counting up how many times I've moved in 25 years. ELEVEN. I should have just joined the military but that's another story. My dad made a snide comment this morning about how he "knows" what it's like to box up your stuff and live temporarily somewhere. I had to walk out of the room. I don't want to get knocked down for back talk at age 46 and I'm sure it would have happened. He's lived in 3 houses in his whole life. His parents, the first house he and my mom had for 25 years and now the house he built 21 years ago. All 3 of those houses have been on the same 2 miles of road.
My only hope is other people deal with a lot of and just cover it up with a smile day in and day out.
I'm going to go for a run tomorrow. Hopefully for an hour but to do this I have to drive out to the paved road from my parents house because it's hunting season and I'd rather not get shot for disturbing hunters. I'm at the library this morning studying and getting quizzes done ahead for a college class I'm taking and then going to make tomatillo salsa this afternoon once I'm done visiting my 93 year old grandma who still lives on her own out in the country. I might complain about the crap life throws at me but that woman is the queen of having a crappy life. Her husband, grandpa, died 21 years ago and there hasn't been a man in her life since. Not even a date. She put up with so much from him for 40 years that the thought of one more man giving her crap even once was more than she could stomach. I get her line of thinking. She and I are kindred souls.
Back in the days when I coached cross country one of the first things I addressed, at the start of the first practice, was weather and the cancellation policy. Basically the policy went like this: If the weather is bad enough to cancel a meet, then practice is cancelled. I left the parents an out (we're talking about fourth through eighth graders), but in five years of coaching I never cancelled a practice, and I only remember ending one early once.
The point: I was going to be there for whoever wanted to practice. In secret I always hoped for one bad weather day early in the season, just to see who showed up. Those were gonna be the ones I could count on when needed, the ones who would do whatever they had to to succeed.
This week I got the chance to apply the same reasoning to myself. I'm finally making a comeback after a couple years of injury, indifference, and other life stuff, and so far things have gone well. I'm in week ten of a fifteen week half marathon training cycle and have been hitting mileages and speeds I haven't seen in a while. Then came Wednesday: speed work, which as many of you know is my favorite something I wish I could live without. I also knew the weather forecast called for showers later in the morning, but if I went out now I should be able to get the workout in. Sounded like a good plan.
Someone didn't check the radar.
I ran a ten minute warmup, then launched into the first of the speed segments, 5 minutes at 5k pace. About a minute in I felt the first drops. By three minutes in it was raining pretty heavily, enough so that the rain drops that were getting in my mouth were causing me to cough. I finished the first segment and just about called the workout when I had several thoughts at once:
The nearest possible shelter was about half a mile away, the dugouts at the softball fields in the park where I was running
I'm already soaked
WHAT WOULD THE CROSS COUNTRY KIDS SAY??!
So I finished the workout. I even hit the proper times for the speed segments.
Thursday I had a couple short slow runs on the schedule for recovery, managed to get rained on during both of them.
Today, fourteen miles...in the rain.
Tomorrow is a day off to drive to Georgia for a college visit where my son wants to go to school.
I'd like to get a run in Sunday to take a look at the campus. The forecast says....
The Overlook 50K was created by Ann Trason and is run mostly on the Western States course. Most of you know that I hired Ann as my coach a few years ago when I trained and ran my first Western States race. Despite the painful DNF (did not finish) there, I had a wonderful journey, highlighted by Ann Trason's inspirational tutelage.
I came into this race pathetically under-trained, with no long trail runs for about 4 months. Still, I was hopeful that I could fake my way to a finish and get a long training run in the process.
Surprisingly, I ran really well for about 27 miles! Then it got hot and hilly. I became mildly dehydrated and my body started to protest with a series of cramping and pain. The last 4 miles were slow and tough. But somehow, I managed to run-walk-crawl to the finish line in 6 hours and 7 minutes. Good for 49th place out of 139 finishers! I had a great time!
Everyone is wearing tutus at this river crossing aid station! The river is both refreshing and a shock to the system!
Laura Matz, in the distance...
The views are breathtaking everywhere you turn!
It's a waterfall!
Gordy Ainsleigh! He is local hero/legend, and everyone around here loves him. He always gets a nice ovation and cheer at the finish!
Other notes: One the mantras I used in my first 27 miles was, "Run like you're in 2nd place." I was thinking about my 2nd place finish at the Mokelumne River 50K when I was better trained and the fast kids were doing a different race. I ran like I was being chased. I ran like I was protecting a lead. And I passed a lot of people after going very easy in the first 10 miles. And I really thought I could keep it up right to the finish.
As you're probably aware, Florida is hot. Most of Florida really doesn't have "seasons." Down south they have "my face is melting" and "oh, it'll take me 20 minutes to get a sunburn" as their seasons. Way up here in the panhandle, just south of the Georgia border we actually have something more akin to seasons. It's not like up north, north, though. Our fall basically just means that there's much less humidity and the temps are only gonna reach 85-88. The mornings, though, are quite awesome. we'll get down in the lower 70's.
We have 3 DK9s. A short, stocky, blind dachshund; a mutt we were told was lab-border collie mix; and a Great Pyrenees. The GP is a 120 lbs. giant, white, hair-shedding, lovable fluff ball. When we adopted her nearly 11 years ago, we had no idea what we were getting into...I mean, the interwebs explained to us that she wasn't going to be an obedient dog, so we knew that much. But, we didn't think about the mountains of hair she would shed in a week or the fact that afternoon walks in the summer just wouldn't be any fun for her. I've tried to be the dog owner that walks there dogs for a good hour every day (except the little dachshund, and hour of walking for her is roughly the equivalent of you or I running a marathon). I learned during the first year of having the GP that walking her after work in the summer was pretty mean. She didn't lay down and collapse in neighbors yards, but her tongue would become roughly as wide as my wife's Kia Soul as she panted her way through the walk. I decided that subjecting her to that was more akin to punishment than it was enjoyable for her. So, the dog-walking was switched to before work. Ever since, I've been getting up at 5 a.m. to walk the big dogs. I think they've enjoyed not being subjected to the summer heat...and I've learned to love that early morning solitude.
For years, the walk was a half mile loop to the west of my house; then, just before the intersection of the street before my street, at a storm drain, we'd turn for a three-quarters of a mile loop to the south. Sometimes, we'd zig-zag up and down a couple of side streets to add a little extra if they were feeling it.
The years have gone by and the girls have gotten older. The GP has developed arthritis; and it's slowed her down quite a bit. I talked to her doctor about walking her, and he still wants her walking as much as she wants to. He said to just let her dictate the walks. The lab mix, though, is still strong and happy. Most of the time now, the GP will continue to head towards home; but, sometimes, she'll stop at the storm drain just before the intersection where we've turned onto the south loop for the last decade. She'll either start pulling that direction or she'll just stop and look, apparently longing for the days gone by when she would walk and sniff her way around that loop, before deciding to continue towards the house. On the days that the GP goes home early, the lab mix and I head back out, after dropping the GP off at the house, for a brisk walk on the south loop.
This week has seen a return to fall for us. It's been warm, but comfortable, in the afternoons and nowhere near as humid as it has been for the last several months. The mornings have been gorgeous, with a refreshing breeze. The skies have been clear and the stars beautiful. The other day, the GP wanted to turn towards the south but I was in too much of a rush to be able to take the extra time. I stopped, petted her head, and promised that, if she felt like it, I would take her to do that loop before the end of the week. I was sad that I didn't have the time to do that extra loop with her.
It was pretty again this morning and I spent most of the loop going to the west looking at the skies, wondering, thoughts wandering, and letting the DK9s walk and sniff 'til their hearts were content. As we made our way back toward the house, we arrived at that storm drain and stopped. She sniffed her usual spot right next to it as I stood and watched. She pulled at the leash, wanting to cross to the south loop and I smiled.
The three of us wandered slowly around that loop, I enjoyed the stars and the breeze and they enjoyed walking, sniffing, and just being dogs. When we approached the street that we normally turn on to do our zig zag, the GP gently pulled that direction. I let her slowly, gently lead the way. The first part up that street is a pretty steep uphill, especially for her now. But, she continued to slowly climb it; content with her pace. As we made our way back up our street, she slowed. It wasn't that pained, lumbering slowing down that she does as she nears the end of what she can do for that day. She was dilly-dallying, hoping to extend the time that we could be outside.
As I left to come to work, I told my wife that she had done the whole walk. She knows when we're talking about her, and she lifted her head to listen. She smiled a tired, but content smile and laid her head back down on the flloor. It was a good morning.
The Marshall University Marathon is my home course. I've run the half multiple times, hosted the very first ever official Loopfest (we called that one Loopsterfest) in my home, and I'm on the marathon planning committee. Last year I couldn't run because I had had my ankle surgery three weeks prior, but I dragged a folding chair and the official Loop cowbell to the side of the 5K and cheered on TO, who had dropped in to run it, then I drove to a spot along the marathon course and cheered on various friends running it. I just knew I would be running Marshall again this year.
That is not to be, because of continuing injury problems, but this year I have one current student and one former student running the half, and one former student running the 5K. So I will be up early with my stadium chair and the official Loop cowbell to cheer them on.
Speaking of proud, Marshall is well known for its programs for autistic students. Parents from all over send their kids here to get intensive help in succeeding at college. A few years back we had an autistic student in the music department. He was a good guy, quite smart, but with many struggles, self-discipline being a big one. His guitar teacher was tireless in working with him and staying in touch with his mentors in the autism program. At one point, the student, I'll call him J, didn't show up for a few days, so the guitar teacher went to his dorm room, where he found wall to wall Doritos - J was just hanging out gorging. But he got back on track, and graduated on schedule. Since then he has moved back near his family in New York, but he has a job and an apartment of his own. In the past couple of years he has started running - the man with self-discipline problems - and last week he PRed at a half - 1:41:xx.
Hello all! It's been a very long time since I posted and since this is all new, thought I'd jump on the band wagon and share my latest race.
I haven't blooped for such a long time because I never felt like I had anything interesting to say. My running in the past year has been pretty mundane (at least compared to a lot of you). I became a "Mimi" last February to twin boys! They are my first grandchildren and they have changed my life and my priorities for sure. Running use to be such an important part of my life - not that it still isn't but it's definitely down on my list. In March I started watching the twins 4 days a week when my daughter went back to work. Needless to say, it is exhausting. It pushed my running to 4:30 - 5:00 a.m. and they are mostly all junk miles. I'm just always tired. I haven't done any speed work or hill work at all this year. Therefore, I haven't really had much desire to race even though I'm on a local team and have to race a few races a year. 😬
Yes this is a race report if you're still reading this 😀 We have a hometown Half Marathon every September and it draws approximately 8 thousand between a Marathon, Half, 10K and 4 mile run. I was very worried about the half because I hadn't run 13 miles since last November when I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Half! I'm telling you - little training going on here. My goal was to break 2 hours.
I lined up with the 1:55 pace group and just decided to run my own race and decide how I was feeling as I went. The first few miles seemed so easy - I was in shock. I took a gu at mile 5 and thought just continue the ride until I can't. At mile 9.5 came an uphill and I sure realized right away I had no training in hills. I had to walk up part of it. Also, my stomach was churning and I knew I needed a gu but didn't want to chance it with my stomach. Well, I walked 6 more times between miles 10 and 12 so the gu was needed. I hit the wall for sure. I ran the last mile just praying to get done. I finished in 1:53:21!! Not a PR but much better than I had thought would happen. I was so excited and realize that I still have it in me.
I have a 10K in 3 weeks. That is my hardest racing distance. I never know how to pace myself for it. Guess I'll try to be smart and just hang on like usual the last 2 miles. I'm also running the Fort Worth Half Marathon in November. Hoping to not lose the fitness I have and try to have another decent race. (I also haven't been to the gym for any strength training since the twins were born - definitely shows). My new life - I love it!
So great reading everyone's reports and catching up! You are all so inspiring to me.
Love this new format!! Thanks Dave 😊
This week has kinda felt like week one of running for me. Those weeks where you just can’t get in a rhythm, can’t get the legs to move like you want, and just can’t find the pep in your step… those weeks only make us stronger, right? I know that it does but it can be hard to accept that at the time.
Last night, I had 4 mile tempo @ 9:00 on the training log. I’ve been doing a mile warm-up and a mile cool-down before/after all of my speed work and I can certainly feel the benefits of it. I ran my usual route because the Bear Creek Trail Greenway is right behind my house; it’s just easy and beautiful, with dirt trails too. There is a .3 mile hill that leads down to it so I always have an uphill to finish on.
As soon as I got to the bottom of the hill, I started noticing them; those things that “bug” the shit out of me when the weather is warm. Clouds and clouds of gnats. They hover above the greenway, and swirl around awaiting your arrival. They weren’t too bad during the first mile, but after that they progressively got worse. The trail gets a little…stinkier as you go too (sewage…gag).
Also, I suck at tempos. I use to be really good at keeping a particular pace, but it has been so long since I’ve even worried about it. I could tell I was running too fast, but I was just aggravated that my Garmin wouldn’t stay put on pace so I could tell how fast I was going; it seems to just jump around the whole time. Instead of constantly looking down, I just went with it and knew I didn’t want to miss the mark; I’d just be fast. Whatevs.
When I turned around at 3 miles, I knew I’d have to endure those cloudy fuckers again. The thought of it pissed me off… It was making the run much harder than it needed to be because I couldn’t breathe without using my shirt to cover my mouth. My gait was thrown off also because I had to use one arm to hold my shirt up. AHHHHHHH!!!! At one point, I stopped and said, “Fuck this!” I quickly started again and just wanted to be finished; that’s why mile 3 was so fast. I still had to get back home, after all.
When I hit a cloud, it’d put my head down and could feel them pelting the top of my head, my sunglasses, my cheeks, and my hand. They weren’t the tiny gnats you might be thinking of… GROSS!!!
When I reached the end and began my cool-down, I was glad to be done and to have surpassed my goal. I had planned to walk up that last hill, but I found some new energy when I hit it. Although I was supposed to be cooling down, I charged up the hill and felt the strongest I’d felt during the whole run. Finding those new pockets of energy, at unexpected times, is magic for me. It spreads over my whole body and almost seems to lift me up (literally) a bit.
Things could worse. I could be injured or sick or in a place where running isn’t safe or possible.
Look at this view?! So lucky to have this right behind my house…
So I’ll just find the magic in the misery and chew on those nasty little winged fuckers. Extra protein.
Thanks for reading,
"Biggest sandbag job of all time?" -NavEng, posted to my Strava feed, 10/2/17.
I suppose I deserved that. Two days prior to the race I posted a rant in Loopville about injuring my back and complained that I didn't think I could run the race. A quick recap in case you missed that: After the best training cycle to date I was down to the last 5 days before the marathon. Everything was pointing to a huge PR. (Even bigger than the expected PR in Philly... Before the weather gods dealt us the windstorm from hell.) But then there was this sudden sharp pain and tightness in my low back upon pushing up and out of the car on a hill with a file in my lap. I could hardly walk by the time the elevator arrived on my floor. My dreams of a Wineglass PR, or even finishing, seemed to disappear in those few seconds climbing out of the car. A PT pushed, pulled, twisted, kneeded and raked those tight muscles until I could walk. She also had me change my form slightly to take some pressure off the tight area. Still, it seemed that running Wineglass wouldn't happen.
Or maybe it would? After a successful test run Friday evening (and a very large Margarita) it was decided that a DNF would be better than a DNS, so clothes were packed and on Saturday morning I was off on the long car ride to Corning, NY for the Wineglass Marathon. KRG, Peg, J-Zee and I met up at the expo. From there Peg drove KRG and I to a restaurant in Corning where we gorged on pasta while catching up and making plans for the next morning. After dinner we enjoyed ice cream. You can do that all this without guild when you're planning to burn 3,000 calories at the crack of dawn.
The alarm went off at 4:00 AM. Not sure why I even set it since sleep was elusive, at best. After instant oatmeal and juice I met Peg and KRG in the lobby. We drove a few miles to Corning and were safely in a parking garage with minimal delay. After parking and peeing we boarded a bus for the starting line 26.2 miles away. Not quite the same as Dave driving us to the corrals in Philly, but we made it, peed again and were directed into the warming tent. We passed the time by goofing around and taking selfies while waiting for Hot Pink Sneakers and J-Zee to arrive.
After J-Zee and HPS arrived.
We talked about goals. Mine had gone from a 9:10/mile (4:00) to "just take it easy and finish without aggravating my back." Then we noticed that speedo man was holding a 4:20 sign. He was a pacer. I had no choice but to change the goal to "stay in front of that guy." Soon it was time to pee one last time and check our bags.
It was cold and foggy when we lined up behind the starting line. I had decided to take it easy through the first half and see how my back felt after that. If everything felt loose I would pick up the pace. I lined up with the 9:30/mile pacer since that would keep me just in front of speedo pacer man. After the National Anthem and some announcements the gun sounded and we were off. Apparently 9:30 was a popular pace group. We were packed in very tight for the first 6 miles. Everything felt good. The back was loose. For a while I was running with a woman who was running her 100th marathon. Yes, 100 marathons. So impressive. But, that isn't the most impressive part of her story. Prepare to have your mind blown. This was her 100th marathon in 5 years and only 3 were in her first year of running marathons. She ran 97 marathons in 4 years! Absolutely amazing.
The 9:30 pace group reached the halfway point at 2:06 and I had no back complaints so I picked up the pace. My back didn't bother me unless I let my posture relax or if I twisted to the left. No problem because the lane was closed so there was no need to twist left and watch for traffic. The course is a net down hill, but it was still hilly in between. There was another hill at around the 19 mile mark, which is never appreciated at that point in a marathon. I was tired and starting to drag by mile 22. The slight posture change helped avoid back pain, but it's tiring to try to hold a different form than you're used to. My hamstrings were tired and close to cramping up. By now the sun was high in the sky and it was hot. I drank water at every water stop after 20 miles and also walked 30 steps at each water stop, hoping that would keep any hamstring cramps away.
Finally, we turned the corner onto Market Street and the finish line. I was the last of our group to finish. The official time was 4:07. A new PR. After staggering through the chute and chugging chocolate milk and water, J-Zee led me to the others where I learned we were 6 for 6 with new PR races. Here we are celebrating:
The race was well run and the free stuff was nice.
Eventually we made or way back to the hotel and then home. These weekends are always over way too fast. I miss everyone and can't wait to do it all over again.
BTW -- ocrunnergirl = fivestarks
Wondering if I should just have Cliff change me back to fivestarks. I like ocrunnergirl better because that's who I feel I am - a girl who grew up in Ocean City. Also belatedly I realized that it could stand for Obstacle Course (runner girl) but that was not intended.
My healing from the hamstring tear has been fraught with ups and downs.
One PT tells me I'm fine to do anything that doesn't hurt. The next tells me that I can only do 1 mile 3 times a week. <== I kicked that one to the curb.
I finished my 12 sessions of PT, but they recommended another 12 sessions. I'm calling it graduate school. I'm actually not struggling with this. If they want to point out my weaknesses and tell me how to fix them I'm all for it!
I've started a very loose Higdon beginners plan to get me to be able to finish the Rehoboth 1/2. I started it late because who knew December was less than 12 weeks away?? I struggle with how many races I've DNS'd.
First week called for running 15 miles total. I ran 6.1 of those miles. Ellipticaled, stairclimbed and rowed the other ones. I struggle with being smart.
It seems not all of my speed has left me. I managed an 8:44 mile one day when running alternating light posts fast and slow.
Two days ago I ran 4 at the park where I tore my hamstring. I wanted to be fast. I wasn't. I was in between and it didn't feel good. I struggle with remembering my paces and # of miles last year.
I had my 1st session of Graduate PT yesterday. I told the PT about some pain in my hamstring. He graston'ed a little and said he felt it was just from my leg not being used to running. Thought I was okay to keep running - smaller steps, Chi running.
My friend called and asked if I wanted to do a short run. Before PT I would've said no. I taped my leg and we ran a glorious 2 miles. It was slow. We chatted. It was perfect.
I have so many hopes and dreams, but right now I don't know what to do with them.
My strength is at an all time high due to cross training. As long as I can keep my running progressing I feel I could run a great Obstacle Course race. I'm signed up for one Dec. 9th, but with my friends and family. So a fun run. I could sign up for one in North Jersey in November but it's hilly and hills are not my hamstring's friend right now. I'm not willing to have another setback. I struggle with being too competitive.
There's a marathon in Vegas in April of next year that I'd love to sign up for - Revel Mt. Charleston. I'm in no position to think about signing up for anything other than a 5k right now.
With the Loop shutting down it was painful to walk down memory lane and see how fast I was and how far I had come. I struggle with feeling like I will never return to that.
The PTs keep telling me I may look young but my muscles are those of a 50 year old. I also found out I have flat feet and should be wearing orthotics. Seriously? I struggle with getting old.
I struggle with all of these being FWP.
I really miss not having a running event on the calendar. And I was mourning the fact that I probably won't have one there for a long while yet... until I remembered that autumn is the start of the holidays and therefore the wonky little local races that are perfectly acceptable to run/walk in. So how feasible do you think a Turkey Trot is for a 32wk pregnant lady? Good idea for motivation to keep me active or just asking to be disappointed again if I don't feel up to it by that point?
I was talked into taking a weekly basic drawing class by a much more socially active friend and last night was the second class. I can't sing worth a dang or play any of the instruments that the band wanted so I took art classes all through middle and high school instead. That one hour a day was so awesome - we'd have periodic new projects and class discussions but for the most part, you could walk in, get your stuff, put your music in and work on your own for the whole class. Definitely a meditative practice. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I'd remembered from all those years ago!
Class 1: spheres, eyes, shading, value scale
"Homework": practice drawing an egg
Class 2: a seemingly aggressive jump to sketching a bust of Socrates.
The class is only 2hrs long and it drove me a little nuts to stop before this thing was finished. But it still was fun and at the end we lined all of the students' drawings up and discussed them. It's crazy how different people can be drawing the same exact thing and have them all look so different! This is mine next to my friend's, which I totally love because she made her Socrates look like an evil wizard on a Wanted poster, side-eye and all.
Hello new Loop! I'm looking forward to catching up on what everyone has been up to.
My race report which I've copied below was originally posted on my Wordpress blog, but I thought I'd try cross-posting here. Happy Trails!
Recovery from Lost Soul was painfully slow. My quads were exceptionally sore and despite my best efforts to give my body the nutrients and rest that it needed, it still felt like I was barely making progress. In the week after Lost Soul I did absolutely nothing. No walking, no running, no biking, no stretching. I did try yoga one day … but that was a bad idea. It felt like the slightest exertion would rip my muscles in half.
Heading into LSU I was really excited to race. It had been a long summer and I was looking forward to the off-season. But before the off-season, I wanted to put in one really good, hard effort to see where I was at. I feel like the smoky air stole that opportunity away from me. There was no racing at LSU – it was just 12 hours of battling against the elements before finally admitting that I could not function in those conditions.
Lost Soul left such a bad taste in my mouth that I jumped at the chance to compete at The Golden Ultra 2 weeks later. It didn’t matter that I registered for the race when I could still barely run a step, I had belief that my body would eventually come around. I knew that I would not be in ideal shape to actually compete with the top ladies, but I was okay with that. I could still race to the best of my ability and finish the season on a high note, knowing that I had left it all out there on the trail.
My friend Steph was also running Golden, so she let me tag along – chauffeuring me out to Golden and letting me crash at her “swank” motel room at Mary’s Motel. I felt very spoiled. Friday afternoon came around and it was time to run the Vertical Km, aka “The Blood.”
The Blood – 4.7km, 1040m
I went into this stage hoping to have learned from my experience last year, when I pushed too hard and imploded 3/4 of the way up the mountain. This year I pushed hard, but kept myself in control. I was breathing heavily but there was no blood in my mouth and my heart was not pounding in my ears.
For the first 2/3rds of the race I was accompanied by a 9 year old kid. He would sprint ahead of me, then slow down until I caught up, only to sprint ahead again. As he got tired he would do a little less sprinting and I found myself hiking behind him as he powered his way up the mountain. It was a super impressive performance and it took every ounce of effort to eventually overtake him.
I reached the rocky trail which marked the final portion of the course in good shape, and I told myself it was time to start red-lining. I upped my effort and my breathing became ragged. I caught up to a lady in front of me, but the trail was narrow and she had poles. I tried to stick close to her so that I could squeeze by when there was space, but the trail was steep and her poles were dangerously close to eye level. I was forced to back off or risk losing an eye. After a few minutes of playing chicken I decided it was time to stop being so polite. This was a race, and if she wasn’t going to let me pass I was just going to let myself by. I put in a surge of effort and squeezed past, channeling my frustration to use as fuel for the final push to the finish line. I reached the finish line totally gassed, but feeling like I had executed the race nearly perfectly.
I finished about a minute faster than in 2016. The difference was not a reflection of my fitness, but simply a better pacing strategy. I was trying to race hard and smart, so I was super pleased with that.
Fuel – none
Gear – Icebug Oribis
The Sweat – 58.5km, 2500m
I was under no illusions heading into the ultra stage – I would not be competing for a podium position. This is a very runnable course and I had done almost no running in the last month. I was trained for hiking and time on feet. I knew that my legs were not used to running, and I was worried about blowing them up, so I kept the pace very manageable. Still, after about 5 or 8km I found myself slowly working my way up the field. Eventually I reached the junction where the 30 and 60km runners split. The trails became much more peaceful and I got into a zone.
Steph went ran past me and I was torn between wanting to chase after her, and sticking to my own pace. I stuck to my pace. As the trail got steeper I transitioned to a power hike. This was my happy place and soon I found myself passing people at regular intervals. I embraced the climb, the steeper the better. I passed one girl who was obviously not enjoying the change in terrain and continued to hike with purpose. The trail leveled off as I approached the 25km aid station, and I could see Steph and Todd up ahead. I passed Todd at the aid station, but Steph didn’t stop and was pushing ahead. The trail was climbing and I could tell I was gaining ground, but then the trail turned and we found ourselves back on runnable single-track. Steph vanished out of sight.
By this point in the race it was painfully obvious to me that my running was just not very good. Every time there was a sustained climb I would gain ground,, but as soon as the trail leveled off the runners behind me would catch back up. I wasn’t surprised by this, but it was still a little disappointing.
The ridge climb became steeper and I slowly reeled Steph in. We were both moving well on the climb, passing lots of guys as we made our way towards the summit. The views were spectacular and I was happy.
I reached the summit aid station a few seconds before Steph, refilled my water and took a few breaths from my puffer. We left aid together and I mentally prepared myself for the long grind back to the finish line. I did a reasonable job of running the steep downhill, but once we got back down to Kickinghorse Resort I knew it was all super runnable trail back to the finish line. There were no more hills to help me make up time, and everyone behind me was going to slowly catch back up. I put on some tunes and tried to find a rhythm. Steph passed by me, followed by a gazelle which I would later learn was Adrienne Dunbar.
There’s not much to say about those last 20km. I kept a steady effort, pushing as hard as I could without falling apart. My breathing was laboured, but not to the point where I had to walk. I wasn’t sure if my breathing issues were residual from LSU, or just my usual problem.
I came into the finish line in 6th place, 7 minutes slower than last year, but happy to have put in another solid effort. I felt I had paced it perfectly for my strengths, and I reached the finish line completely drained. Steph and I shuffled back to the motel where I spent the next hour coughing up my lungs, while Steph attempted to nurse her rebellious stomach back to health. We both wondered how we were possibly going to be able to run hard again tomorrow.
Side note – a quick analysis on of the race splits and Strava shows that I reached the summit one minute faster than in 2016, but I lost 8 minutes on the last 20km.
Fuel – maple syrup (diluted with water, 1 tsp salt). Hammer gels.
Gear – Ultraspire Zygos pack. Icebug Animas.
The Tears – 19km, 600m
I probably should have put a little more effort into my warm up for this stage, but I just didn’t have the energy to care. I ran a little less than a kilometre and called it good. Everything hurt and I was sore and cranky.
The stage began and half the field surged in front of me. I shuffled along, debating whether or not I should just hike this stage. Why did I have to race? The paved road we were running along turned uphill and I started walking. My legs did not want to move. Eventually the hill leveled off, the course turned onto a trail, and I began to wake up. Soon I found myself running more, hiking less, and passing racers. The downhills felt surprisingly good so I decided to let my legs fly.
Just like in 2016, my body came alive and I discovered that I had another gear hidden under all that fatigue. I caught up to Steph after about 10km and somehow I knew that she would hang onto me as long as possible. I told myself to run hard so that we could both finish strong.
The downhills on The Tears course are super fun and I took full advantage of the gravity-assisted speed. Unfortunately, my slow start to the day meant that I had a lot of people to pass and I was forced to keep dialing it back as people tried their best to get out of my way on the narrow single-track.
When the trail joined back up with the road I knew it was just a couple kilometres of flat road running until the finish line. Flat road is not my strength, but fear is a powerful motivator and I could hear a runner gaining ground behind me. I pushed hard, successfully holding off the competitor and crossing the finish line in 9th place, Steph was close behind me.
The 2017 Tears course was different than 2016, so I’m not able to really compare splits. I’m super happy with how I ran the last 15km, but a little annoyed that I didn’t put more effort into the first 4km. I should have done a longer warm-up.
Fuel – maple syrup (diluted with water, 1 tsp salt).
Gear – Ultraspire Spry 2.0 pack. Brooks Pure Grit (my feet were tired and I needed some cushion).
And, the final standings for the stage race, 6th overall. (Not sure why it says 21km)
That’s it as far as my 2017 ultra season goes. I’m really happy that I was able to go out on a high note
Next up The Grizzly Ultra 50km in Canmore, where I’ll be racing with Arielle as a 2 person team!
I’ll do the best I can to not drone on forever.
1. Decided to run a marathon For the first time.
2. Signed up for Wineglass in Corning where all the awesomeness recently took place.
3. Trained through a 15 miler in spring
4. Realized I’m insane, I hate racing, always have hated racing, hate any mile over 13, planned to drop to the half at Wineglass, can’t drop down - half is full, decided I’d still go and cheer, I’m good at cheering.
5. Find house of my dreams, proceed to purchase it, issues complicated things, things get expensive, closing delayed, plan to close on race weekend, closing delayed to October 12, ran out of money, cancelled out of race completely.
6. Wallow in self pity and cry over not seeing friends and celebrating their awesomeness. Life goes on.
Started Crossfit in May of this year and love it more than I’d ever imagine. I run 3-4 days a week in addition to Crossfit and I’ve never in my life has this level of positive feeling about my body and how great it is. If you’ve met me you know I’m not a dainty framed woman. I’m built to be strong and powerful but never thought I should because I was raised to think skinny is optimal even if you’re frail and sickly. Screw that. I can power through hills and distances like never before. I’m still a slower runner but that’s my build. I’d rather be slower and powerful than starving myself to be someone else’s image of what a runner looks like to them.
This winter I hope to get many miles under my x-c skis since I have excellent trails just 10 minutes from my new house.
And I’m growing my natural curls out... never embraced my waves and curls in my hair before.
Thats the Cliff Notes version!
Howdy Loopsters!!! Wow, this is so easy! Thanks Dave for getting this going. You da best!
So let's see. I did my first 100k last month. Woodstock. Everything that could go right did go right. It was so easy and I stayed positive the whole time! Weird!
Anyways, I took a few weeks off, then ran a few, then had eyeball surgery last Friday. I just ran my first post-op run. It was kinda hard! On my run I saw the two neighborhood zebras that make appearances at a little horsey paddock once in a while. They must be babysitting. Zebrasitting? I didnt have my phone, so since there are no pics, it might not have happened.
My next race is rnr Savannah Marathon in November with some local RBs.
Heress a pic of my pirate eye. Arrrrr! I don't have to weear the patch but it helps once in a while.
I can't wait to actually read some bloops again!
Well hello there new Loop. MK here. I was a regular around the old Loop parts oohhh 5+ years ago... but that was seriously a lifetime ago. I'm sure I'm more likely an unfamiliar face nowadays than a familiar one, but I'm hoping to get back at it. Although, as much as I'd like to contribute more often, I will probably be sticking more so to a lurker status, as running has taken a huge backseat to life.
Right now, this is my current status:
He won't let me put him down, but I'm learning he's totally fine with me typing while holding him. #MomLife, am I right?
Anyways, this little man is Crosby. He's my second. I also have a spunky 21-month old, Finley. I didn't know it at the time, but Finley was actually with me during my last Loop meet-up. That was back in May 2015 during the mitten challenge (I did not do the mitten challenge, just one half marathon. I was mostly just along for the ride). That was also my last race. I discovered early on that I carry my babies low, making pregnant running not so much fun for me. I was able to CrossFit through my pregnancy with Finley, but after she was born, we quickly learned that parenthood is busy! I did try to do some stroller miles from time to time, but 8 months after Finley was born, I became pregnant with Crosby (because everyone told us how easy 2 under 2 was ). Once again, running pregnant was a bit difficult on my hips, and besides I was getting a workout chasing Miss Fin around (she began walking at 9 months, so we had our hands full!)
During my pregnancy with Crosby, I was committed to start running again once he was born. I missed my active lifestyle and I really wanted to get back into races. But life had different plans for us. Crosby was born the end of May. The labor was hilariously perfect, and my gosh this boy was scrumptious. But little man was born with no T-cells and no NK cells. We found this out 6 days after he was born and he's been in the hospital ever since. His official diagnosis is Severe Combined Immunodeficiency or SCID. This basically means he was born with no immune system (think bubble boy), and it would be too dangerous for him to be out in the world, so instead he's been tucked away in his safe, hepa-filtered, sterile hospital room. I could write a novel about the past 4 months, but I'll spare you the details. The big news is that last week Crosby received a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Now, we wait. We'll find out if the transplant is successful in about 100 days. He's been doing really well, he's so strong, and I'm optimistic that these beautiful donated cells are going to grow. If successful, we should be able to bring little man home in January. I'm looking forward to his second welcome home. During Crosby's time at the hospital we are expected to have someone with him 24/7, so between balancing hospital life/home life/work life/parenthood, running has been pretty nonexistent. I have gone a mile or two here and there, and despite being seriously out of shape, it felt amazing to just get back out there. So I'm going to try my darnedest to sneak it nuggets of time and hit the road every now and again (I mentally need it). If so, I'll try and bloop about it (do we still say " bloop"?). If not, I'll continue to lurk and comment (I do have a lot of time for that while little man sleeps and this platform really does make it so easy! Nice job Dave!).
Anyways, I just wanted to pop in and say hi and give you an update on me - although, I do apologize for my messy life dump (I hope it wasn't too much). I've missed the Loop and I'm hoping to be able to catch up with/get to know you all.