Monday: If you didn’t read what I did on Monday, you really should!
Tuesday – Saturday: REST. I know, I know. I really shouldn’t be taking so many rest days but I’m just being cautious. I haven’t felt my shin a single bit in almost a week now! I had two pretty strenuous back-to-back weekend hikes and those didn’t make things worse. My calves got sore from the Aspen to CB hike, but not as bad as I was expecting! That tells me that my muscles are finally getting stronger and getting use to the long hikes.
Sunday: RUNDAY! Well, I’m not sure if you can call it a run but I did conduct my first running motion since September 8th. UGH. It was also the first long-sleeved t-shirt and headband run of the season. (WTF does Colorado always have to skip Fall?! I literally passed a car with snow on it on my way to work this morning.)
Anywho, I waited until 9:30AM to go out for the test run, and it was still 40 degrees. It was a nice morning though and smelled like fall outside. I walked down to the creek from the house, and did 2.5 miles of run/walk. I would feel some shin pain as soon as I picked it up, but it wasn’t anything intense, just dull. I was expecting that since I haven’t had any hard impact on it in a month. I was wearing my Altras and was running on dirt, just to make it that much easier on my shin.
I plan to get back to it this week and will be hitting up the gym and hiking some. I’ll probably do some easy runs on Tuesday and Thursday because I really need to be getting in some mileage again. Not sure when I’ll make the call of switching to the half at Rehoboth or not, but I’ll have to make sure I do it before the race fills up.
Thanks for reading,
September 2018 in review
Total mileage for the month: 305.4 -- in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290, August - 357
August 27-Sep. 2: 75.8
Sep. 3-9: 73.0
Sep. 10-16: 80.1
Sep. 17-23: 81.7
Sep. 24-30: 57.7 (planned cut-back week, but ended up being lower than the 70ish planned because I missed cool down miles on Sep. 29, then took Sep. 30 off due to a calf issue)
This month sure illustrated how running can give us major highs and significant lows, even within the span of 30 days!
Signaling low battery in sync with my
training partner Rebecca
Sep. 3 - Run for a Child 10K in 37:55 for 1st overall female. I was thrilled to slip in under 38 and net a course PR after a conservative start and with less effort than I've put into this hilly, warm, humid race in past years.
Sep. 9 - Plaza 10K in 36:34 for a bright shiny new PR! This race really couldn't have gone any better...well, unless the 5 women who beat me had instead slept in that day (but I was the fastest in age group 35-39)! I was pretty much elated about this one for remainder of the month.
Sep. 22 - Gill Family Fall Festival 5K, although I ran this as a recovery run instead of a race I won overall person in 21:01 (see: tiny small town 5Ks).
Sep. 29 - Indy Women's Half Marathon in 1:24:19 for 6th overall and my worst decision of the month (turned a minor calf problem into a major issue). I did not get to show my fitness in this race due to the calf injury (I believe I was in shape for 1:18:50-1:19:30), but my husband told me, "Now you know you can run a 1:24 on one leg", hah.
Sep. 5: 12.5 miles with 0.15 pick-ups at the beginning of the final 5 miles - 6:57 pace for all 12.5; pick-up paces of 5:33, 5:40, 5:47, 5:33, 6:07. I almost turned around and ran the final push in the opposite direction so I could avoid the uphill and hit a faster pace, but then I figured I'd get more benefit from the hard uphill so I continued on but couldn't get it under 6:00 (grade-adjusted pace was 5:49 though, thank you Strava!). This was just a tiny workout within a medium long run midweek, but I was really happy with the run as a whole because I distinctly remember running 12 miles two days after the Run for a Child 10K last year; I remember it because it was one of my worst runs of that season due to residual fatigue. 12 miles felt soooo long that day! So before this one I was a little concerned that would happen again, but instead I felt good! I ran 3.1 miles from my house to meet Rebecca, ran a 6 mile loop with her, then ran 3.4 miles (a different route) back home. Anytime I do this it splits the run up mentally and makes it seem short.
Sep. 12: 6.2 mile 3', 2', 1' fartlek with recoveries equal to the next push, 3.1 warm up, 2.2 cool down. My push paces were 5:44, 5:39, 5:34, 5:38, 5:28, 5:48, 5:42, 5:46, 5:24, 5:43. I ran this with Ben, who was a college miler, and he told me that I recover like a long distance runner (7:10ish pace on those) and sent me out to run on the outside of the road on the loop while he got the inside (lane 8 vs. lane 1 basically), haha!
Sep. 18: 5 x 1 mile road repeats in 5:41, 5:50, 5:50, 5:53, 5:51 (5:49 average), 0.25 recoveries, 2.2 warm up, 2 cool down. My goal pace range for this workout was 5:34-5:50, and I was feeling confident coming off the Plaza 10K and lined up to run with Ben, who always helps me run faster than I run alone. Even though the workout was more repeats with half the recovery distance of my PR mile repeat workout, I decided beforehand that I was going to try to better that average -- possibly an unreasonable goal, but I was being stubborn and refusing to admit the difference between 0.25 vs. 0.5 recoveries and the effect of 1 more rep. The first repeat went just as I wanted, and felt hard but do-able. Unfortunately Ben strained his calf about 0.75 in and pulled out of that repeat, then intelligently called it a day. Repeat 2 alone felt much harder even running slower, and I really had to fight in the final bit to get my pace down to 5:50. I was a little discouraged, but told myself maybe I was just finding my rhythm and the rest would be better. The rest were pretty much the same, fighting for the top of the pace range or not quite that. I milked those 0.25 recoveries for all they were worth, running over 8:00 pace, and even walking for about 20 seconds each during the final 2. I certainly stick by my hypothesis that I can run about 10 seconds/mile faster when I have someone to push me, and I think I could have stayed in the 5:40s if Ben had been able to run the whole workout with me, but I sure couldn't get back down to that gear by myself. I was somewhat disappointed that I did not come anywhere near my best mile repeats, and that my average pace was "only" 10K race pace, but I am also trying to remind myself that I can't compare workouts run during 55 mile weeks (as was the case with my PR mile repeat workout) to workouts run during 80 mile weeks. It is also probably unfair to compare workouts run alone to workouts run with others. It was 68*, dew point 68*, so also not as nice as my 10K PR weather. I gave it my all out there under the circumstances!
Sep. 25: 10 x 400 m of regression - splits of 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:26, 1:27, 1:28, 1:28, 1:28, 1:29, 1:30 (goal range was 1:21-1:24). This was not my day! I think it was just the perfect storm of several things that were not conducive to a good workout: 71* with a dew point of 71*, tiredness, GI issues/a minor stomach bug, and a calf niggle. This wasn't the first time I couldn't hit my 10K pace on 400 m repeats and probably won't be the last time either, bahaha! This was one of those workouts I just had to laugh about in order to not be upset about...you can't win 'em all, and I sure can't seem to win at 400 m repeats this year!
Doubles on Sep. 6, 10, 12, 18, 19, 24, and 25.
Strides on Sep. 2, 13, 20, 27, 28, and at least few before races and workouts.
Full body strength workouts - Like last month, I completed my full strength circuit twice per week and also did 5-10 minutes of core work more days than not. I also did some extra rehab exercises often for a couple of niggles I had this month.
Favorite workout: I felt the best on the Sep. 12 fartlek, which coincidentally also had by far the best weather!
Albani came outside at the end of a run we'd all
started from my house, so got in Amy's daily
Lululemon photo with us!
Sep. 9: 17.5 miles via 3 warm up, the Plaza 10K, and 8.25 cool down. This sure didn't feel like a 17+ mile day, thanks to my post-PR high and the company of Michelle, Jessi, and Janell on the cool down. I brought chews and a gel on the cool down...I have learned my lesson about hungry cool downs! Janell ate an apple on the cool down, which I found quite impressive.
Sep. 15: 18.5 miles (6:52). Let the true long runs really begin! I had company the first 9 miles (Ben, Claudio, and Missy), and then finished it up solo. I ran this fasted, although I carried a just-in-case gel. I felt strong throughout this one!
Sep. 21 (Friday): 16.2 miles (7:16). I ran this one a day early due to our weekend plans, and I didn't feel as perky for it as I usually do for long runs. Usually I run 4 miles on Fridays, which my coach calls my "rest day", and it truly makes a difference. I didn't feel bad on this one, but just didn't have as much pep in my step or glycogen in my muscles. I had Missy with me for about 10 miles, and Rebecca for 8 miles, and it went by quickly. It was what I presume will be my last summer weather run, at 75*and 90% humidity (I will welcome cooler temps and lower humidity, but I also believe I get a lot of training gains from running in crap weather). All in all, it is always great to knock out a nearly 2 hour run before work!
Sep. 29: 16.2 miles via 3.1 warm up and the Indy Women’s Half. I missed my cool down mileage, but I couldn’t even walk to the car after the race, so there was no chance.
I didn't run long on September 1 because I ran that one a day early on August 31, which in turn got me to a monthly mileage PR in August while subtracting from my September mileage total...but no regrets because with September having only 30 days and 2 of my goal races, it meant no chance for a monthly mileage PR anyhow (plus I lost miles on Sep. 29-30).
Favorite long run: Since there were only two outside of races, I choose the longer - the 18.5 miler!
Smiles from Miles from Mentor group members
(we need a Hoka One One sponsorship!)
On Sep. 13 I experienced a first, when a horse that was out of its fence followed my friend Missy and I during our early morning 10 miler. I've encountered cattle out of their fences before, but this was the first horse. Our conversation went something like this: "OMG, Sara, it's chasing us, what do we do?!"- Missy. "Just keep running, I don't want to stop my watch!"- me. I knew there was nothing we could do to return the horse to where it belonged, plus it was unclear where it actually belonged (we were between about 10 different farms), so I told Missy to call the non-emergency number for the county sheriff. When she did, they told her to call 911, so she did that to report the horse's location. It was a dangerous situation for the horse and any oncoming traffic (although there is really no traffic on this road, it was about a half mile from a highway). We continued our run after it stopped chasing us, so I hope it was returned to the appropriate location safely, but I know enough to know not to try to handle an unfamiliar large animal! Missy also thought to snap pictures of me while she was freaking out; if I'd have known she was taking them I'd have turned off my headlamp.
Another random first - I found a completely unopened scrapbooking pack laying in the road at the end of a lunch run from my office. Too bad it wasn't one I'd like to use! I had to pick it up for the pure weirdness of it though.
The last 10 or so days of the month I had a calf issue, which really blew up at the Indy Women’s Half (I limped through 9 miles of the race). I had a hamstring niggle I was able to train through in late August/early September, and it completely resolved with some extra attention to strengthening and rolling, but the calf thing didn’t respond as well, and by trying to race on it I doomed myself to some days off, in addition to strengthening, stretching, foam rolling, and ART. I plan to write a separate blog about this also, because hindsight is 20/20 and I know exactly what I did wrong during the final week of the month (the race was the nail in the coffin, but I made a few other errors as well). Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes!
RIP to my running streak - January 27, 2018 to September 29, 2018. I never streak just to streak, and even if I did, I could barely walk on September 30 so there would have been no chance!
You can't say I'm not visible! I was also returning to over-
dressing for heat adaptation on this 70 degree run
Not horsing around
Found on my run...
We had events every weekend this month!
Labor Day weekend we traveled to Arkansas to visit a friend, visit the fun Bentonville area, and to race a 10K. This was our fourth year in a row doing this, so it's become a tradition that I'm not willing to give up, even though it's not an ideal match with running the Plaza 10K 6 days later.
The weekend of September 8-9 I traveled to Kansas City to run the Plaza 10K and to work at our Kansas City division.
Albani had her 11th birthday bash on September 15 at the Ozark Community Center pool. Her actual birthday was on September 18, which was also her school picture day. After running mile repeats I still managed to curl her hair.
Jon and I celebrated our anniversary on September 17...he got me a trip to Sacramento at the beginning of December, which was exactly what I asked for (CIM!).
The weekend of September 22-23 we traveled to Southeast Kansas for a community event fundraiser for one of Jon's closest friend's family members who has Lou Gehrig's disease (more details here).
The last weekend of the month I made the trek to Indianapolis with my parents, to run the Indy Women's half. We had some other fun planned afterward, but ended up heading back home post-race since both my mom and I were having problems walking...it was not our finest day!
My mom made this; the photo was taken after
the Tiger Trot 2016
I got to dine with my 7-year-old nephew while in
Birthday + school picture day
Excuse the dead plants in the background
Bandit is still nearly as big as Albani!
Crazy amazing slip and slide
I was in awe
I can't convince everyone to plunch (planks at lunch) with me,
at work so sometimes I just ask people to lay on my
office floor & chat while I do daily core, hah!
She wore this medal for 2 days straight + our
cat is huge
Our Sep. 30 visitors
Family photo to close out the month
In 2016, the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic was the race that earned me my first buckle. I completed 109 miles that weekend and knew that I would return after recovering from experiencing some of the highest highs and lowest lows.
In 2017, I trained hard. Really, really hard. I ran half marathons on weekdays and spent 6-7 hours running each weekend. I had big goals going into the race and ended up with nearly 116 miles, a new 100 mile PR, and a course record.
At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, I signed up for my 3rd Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic. I had just come off a new 6 hour PR and had some successful marathons despite doing zero road marathon training. I felt strong and good and happy.
Fast forward through 9 months that consisted of 2 stress fractures and all the recovery processes that came with them. I had a reasonably successful half- marathon (+warm up and cool down =16 total miles) the weekend prior at Augusta and with the notion of getting in a long run before NYC, I had a plan. I would run 20ish on Saturday morning at HL24, 5ish on Saturday evening and 6ish on Sunday morning. This would give me a nice 50K and not tax my body too much.
Photo cred: Tim Garriss
It was incredibly humid the day before the race and it did not appear to be getting any better according to weather predictions. I crawled into my tent that night, almost sweating on top of my sleeping bag. Luckily, my superpower is sleeping anywhere, anytime and I found I had dozed off easily when someone latecomers woke me up dragging their cooler through the sand just outside my tent at 11 p.m.
I didn't even set my watch alarm because I knew the hubbub of the morning would wake me up. People started stirring around 5-something and I eventually made the trek to the lodge to pee. There was still plenty of time and I lounged around, eating my overnight oats and eventually getting all my gear laid out like I wouldn't have any time to stop. It was hard to disassociate myself from the fact that I would have plenty of time to comb through my snacks.
I pinned on my bib and headed over to the start. I watched Ray receive his 1,000 mile jacket and put my hand over my heart for the national anthem. And then we were off!
The first few laps, I ran in stride with Matt, keeping the pace around 11 minute miles and conversation light. We parted ways around the 4th loop and I continued on while he conserved himself for a long day and night. I was enjoying the easy effort after the half marathon pace from the prior weekend. Thought it wasn't ideal to be going as slow for NYC, it really was better for my psyche to have the time on my feet and the easier effort.
Photo Cred: Peter Asciutto
The air was like soup and while I was having huge feelings of FOMO not going for big miles, I was also a little relieved that I wasn't going for big miles.
Round and round I went on the 1.5 mile loop. I grabbed peanut butter pretzels, mixed sweet tea with water, and didn't worry about the pace on my watch. With the 1.5 mile loop, I either had to run 19.5 miles or 21 so clearly I opted for 21. When I got through that lap, I had been toying with the idea of doing a marathon and then stopping for a bit. So I keep running through 22.5 and in the middle of that lap, I came somewhat to my senses and told myself to stop no matter what at that lap.
It was really, really hard to make myself go sit down.
Which sounds insane if you aren't a runner. Most people would probably be relieved to go sit at nearly 23 miles. But I was frustrated for a bit that I wasn't healthy enough to continue running without screwing up my progress.
So I sat.
About 30 minutes went by before Rachelle came to sit and asked if I had any of the pizza yet. My A goal was to eat the pizza hot!
The start/finish line was about a quarter mile in the wrong direction from our camp so anytime I wanted to eat or drink, I opted to just take a 1.5 mile lap instead of backtracking. So I got up and walked a lap so I could grab some hot pizza.
And then I sat again.
I grew restless and decided to go on a slushie run to Sonic. Jen had mentioned it the day before and I thought it would be A) a forced way for me to not be racing B) a nice treat for Jen and C) a nice treat for other people. I managed to get there during happy hour and sat in line for 20 minutes in the drive-thru. Yes, it was super weird to leave a race in the middle of the race, drive to a fast food place, and come back.
I doled out the slushies and had a few extras that I hawked like scalped tickets on the corner of the trail. It took less than a minute to find takers for the extras. One guy thanked me at least 3 times throughout the rest of the race!
Jay came and got his gear from me and then I walked another lap at one point with Jen and then did a few running laps with Matt. I turned on my GPS for a bit on the running laps, but then just decided to keep it off for the rest of the race.
Everything else I did after those last 4.5 miles of running were strictly walking. I walked when they had hamburgers and chicken tenders at dinner and marveled how I never even realized they had those before. Maybe they didn't? All I know is that I definitely wouldn't have been eating them 8-9 hours into the race if I was chasing big miles!
I walked when Jen needed company. I walked a bit with Win and Paul. I walked after sitting in my camp chair for extended sessions.I ran into old Hinson friends (hey Tim!) and made new ones. And I actually felt really, really good!
Photo cred: Tim Garriss
After the sun set, I did a few more walking laps and then decided to try to get some rest so that I could be alert for Matt and Jen if they wanted company in the evil 2am- 5am time. With all the walking laps after I ran 22.5 + 4.5 or so earlier in the day, I was at 43 miles by about 10:30pm. I got into my tent and passed out almost immediately, but had the wherewithal to set my alarm for 2am.
When my watch alarm went off at 2am, I reset it for 2:15am and laid in my tent for a few more minutes. At 2:15am, I stumbled out of my tent and got ready in case if anyone wanted company. I refreshed the tracker and saw Matt had not crossed the mat in awhile and I immediately went to his tent and starting shaking it. Discovering he was not inside, I stood and waited. He arrived shortly thereafter looking pretty rough. Everything was hurting and despite my cajoling him with calories, hydration, Biofreeze, and the promise he could do it just by putting one foot in front of the other, he was not interested in making another step at the moment.
I actually felt annoyingly refreshed from my 3 hour nap and decided to walk a lap. And then a couple more. And then I sat for awhile and walked a few more laps. Laurie was at the aid station at this point and I was actually kind of hungry so it was fun to just go 'round and 'round, walking and getting snacks with each loop.
One of the many silly things that this race does is have a bunch of garden gnomes all over the course. Runners move them to different spots the entire 24 hours. There was once with a snorkel that ended up in multiple puddles. They stick them on the trail, on the sewer drain tops, next to trees, etc. I had never moved one in my prior two races, so it seemed like a good year to walk with one for a bit and I left it on a bench on the footbridge over the lake.
I hit 50 miles total and took another short break before the sky started to lighten up. More and more people returned to the race as the clock wound down and I went back to walking. I brought my phone with me to take some pictures of the sunrise and the signs on the course. My legs were starting to get a bit tired, but as it neared 8am, I kept a decent walking pace.
I crossed the timing mat around 7:30 or so and grabbed my banana for the banana lap. Volunteers write your number on a banana and a horn blares right at 8am. You drop your banana on the side of the trail and they measure out your last lap to add to your total mileage. I ended up crossing the timing mat one more time and kept going for about a minute past our campsite.
58.82 miles total!
Jen had been pushing for a top 10 female placement in the final couple of hours and I loved watching her get all competitive. Spoiler alert: she did it! We were all pretty exhausted from our individual efforts and decided to sit around enjoying breakfast beers before breaking down our camps.
I definitely was FAR more awake than in years past going home and while I had 58 miles on my body, I was actually not very sore all things considering. My feet and ankles were a little puffy and I had a funky rash/skin irritation from the sand and grit in my shoes. However, I had no blisters and my chafing was pretty minimal. Woot!
I was worried I might have overdid it on the walking in retrospect and made sure to stick to my post-race plans of complete rest for a couple of days. By Wednesday, all the tightness had subsided and I breathed a sigh of relief that everything felt really, really good! After a week of very short runs, I will be ready to return to go into the last 4 weeks of marathon training on Monday. I have no idea what my fitness will look like on November 4th, but I'm excited to toe the line healthy!
The year was 1998. It was a chilly, windy and overcast Pennsylvania fall day. It was all I could do to drag myself across campus to class. Staring at the teacher, not hearing a word he said I could not imagine how I would make it back home and back to bed where I wanted to be.
It had been like this for a while. My days revolved around going to class, going to work, and going to bed. When I was awake, I was a walking zombie. My waitress job wiped me out every night. Being the only one in my class who had to have a job during the school year, my main professor was used to giving me extensions on projects and assignments. It’s not that I didn’t have time, its that I couldn’t concentrate long enough to do the work. I was barely 19 and was not going to parties or even spending time with friends. My closest family member was a 3.5 hour drive away and had their own lives.
Leaving class that day, I just couldn’t do it. I made a slit-second decision to head to the college nurse’s office. I told her I was so tired, could I just lay down for a few minutes? She made me comfortable and gently started to ask me questions and examine me. After taking my blood pressure, she asked if I was dizzy. It was pretty low (90/50), even for me. She covered me with a blanket and left me be. After 20 or so minutes, I got up and gathered my things, thanking the nurse for letting me rest. She strongly suggested I get some rest (that’s all I have been doing!) and see my doctor. My childhood doctor was over an hour away and I had no idea how I’d find the energy to drive there. That was out of the question. As I walked home I racked my fuzzy brain- what in the past had cleared my mind and given me energy?
Although not what most would call athletic, I played and loved sports since elementary school. Running was a part of every one of those sports. So even if I couldn’t (or didn’t have the energy) find someone to play basketball or soccer with, I could always run. I always loved the buzz after a hard practice or game. I needed to do something. Maybe this was it.
The night after my senior prom, just 16 or so months before this cloudy, northeast day, my mom died. She had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. She had been diagnosed when I was 16 and it was an outrageously quick progression of this disease plus preexisting mental illness that led her to somehow manage to swallow a bottle full of zanax even though she struggled with speech and tongue control. My father and I had been caretakers, splitting up duties depending on his factory work schedule and my school/athletics schedules. Although the end was near regardless of her actions, you are never prepared. I was not prepared for my father’s grief. My father was not prepared to care for a lost 17 year-old girl. Those few summer months before I got to go to school were the longest. I avoided my father like the plague. He needed me, but I truly had nothing to give. Move-in day at my first college could not come soon enough. One of my sisters accompanied dad and I that day. Dad never stepped foot in my dorm room, choosing to stay in our handicap/wheelchair van we no longer needed.
A college dorm full of girls who had no idea what the last year of my life had been like was exactly what I needed. Immersing myself in teenage girl drama was the best soother. Soon after I started class, my dad moved to a retirement community in Florida. He had retired just days before my mom’s fatal choice. I no longer could go “home” but figured my dorm was now home and that would do. That first school year progressed and spring came. A memo was slipped under our doors one day, letting us know what days the dorms would close. Yep, I was totally clueless. I had spent Christmas with my half sister and her mom (my dad’s second wife whom he was married to before my mom… my family is an odd assortment of halfs and wholes due to multiple divorces), it hadn’t registered that the dorms actually CLOSE on holidays. What would I do for Easter? SHIT- what would I do for the summer? Dad and my family never offered a place for me to stay for the summer. A number of college buddies offered to take me home with them. But I didn’t want to bring them down. I was aware how most people did not know how to handle my grief, and repeatedly I ended up comforting them while I struggled.
Thinking of what few options I had was overwhelming and I crashed back into depression. I just wanted my mom to be alive and I wanted to go home. The closest I could come in my mind was heading back upstate and transferring to a school about an hour from my hometown. This way I would be close to my high school friends. I could get an apartment in a town I was at least familiar with, a place I could live year round. I could go to a school where some of my high school classmates were enrolled.
The college fitness center was eerily empty on that Friday night. The florescent lights seemed to echo and bounce off the still equipment. It reminded me of an all-night grocery store at 2 am. Or an airport after the last inbound flight of the night. I dragged myself up on a treadmill and hit the quickstart button. I don’t remember how long or far I ran. But what I do remember is the surge of clarity. A few of the cobwebs got blown out. A little humming in my soul.
In the last 20 years I have run through grief and the associated waves of depression.
I have run through fear.
I have run as celebration.
I have run to remember.
I have run to feel alive.
I have run to forget.
Every major event since that day has been marked with a run. I am not fast. I normally do not go all that far.
It doesn’t matter. I’m not sure what would have happened to that college kid all those years ago if she hadn’t got on the treadmill and went for her first true “run”. But I’m sure glad she did.
I think I'll go for a run tonight.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether to toe the line or DNS. It can be even harder to know when a DNF would be the best call. I now know I should have made the first choice about the Indy Women’s Half Marathon, but if I had to start the race again I would have made the second choice, pride and other considerations aside. But I’m getting ahead of myself...
After I PRed at the Plaza 10K at the beginning of the month, I felt really good about trying for a half PR in Indy. Typically I don’t have to slow down much from a 10K to a half; last year my differential between the 2017 Plaza 10K and the 2017 Indy Women’s half was 8 seconds/mile. To hit my big goal time of sub-1:20 at Indy, I could slow down about 14 seconds/mile from what I ran at this year's Plaza. I felt really good about going for that, and thought if the weather was good and I could get in a fast pack that 1:18:59 would be realistic.
Starting about 10 days before the race, I felt a niggle in my calf (another post coming with full details about this). Initially it was too tiny to even worry about, and loosened up after a few blocks or at most a mile into my runs, but 6 days before the race it started getting worse and I started worrying. I did not enjoy my runs like usual during race week, because I was worried that my body was betraying me. I also had a short but intense stomach bug on Tuesday during race week that certainly didn’t do my recovery or body as a whole any favors. I had ART for my calf twice during race week, hoping for relief.
I really vacillated on whether or not I should start the race, and had pretty much backed out, but the lightened up mileage of race week had me feeling like a race horse and I became optimistic that I could race and then take a few days off afterward to address the issue. On Thursday morning I told my parents my decision to race, since they were traveling to my home that day to leave for Indy with me on Friday morning. When I went in for ART on Thursday evening my coach told me he did not think racing on it would make it worse or that it would jeopardize CIM in any way, so I felt validated in my decision. He didn’t even think I’d need time off afterward as I expressed. He said it was a minor strain to my peroneus longus, a stabilizing muscle on the outside of the calf. I also rationalized it away by deciding that if this turned into a season-ending injury, I would be happy that I went to Indy to go for a PR because I might never get to my current fitness level again. Worst case scenario, I wanted a last hurrah.
Throughout this time, my instincts were screaming at me: “Don’t do it! This is a bad idea!” I wouldn’t listen; I told myself I would power through the pain, mind over matter. I was honored to be featured as one of the Five Women to Watch in the race, but this honor also greatly contributed to my stubbornness about a DNS. I was already printed in the race program; what a loser I would be for pulling out last-minute. The weather forecast was also perfect for racing, at 50* and light wind (bad weather would have made pulling out much easier).
This was NOT the photo I submitted to be published, & IS
the worst photo of me from the 2017 event...not sure what
happened there, but it disappointed me
Starting photo from 2017 - can you find me?
Posing with bib #3
My sweet mom
My sweet dad
Race morning my calf hurt on my warm up, but I was used to the feeling from the week before. It wasn’t terrible and I figured I’m just power through. Prior to this race, I'd never really tried to race with an injury so didn't know the reality of your body simply not allowing it to happen, no matter what your mind says. As the race started, adrenaline took over, and I told myself, “See, you’ll be fine.” I could tell I was running tentatively but thought maybe it would warm up more and I could speed up then; I wanted to go out conservatively and negative split anyhow. I felt like I was in my own little world, just me and my calf, not like I was in a race; although I knew by mile 3 I’d moved up to 5th place in the all women's field. I looked at my first 3 splits and then stopped checking them, disheartened, because my leg wasn't working right.
Trying to stay optimistic pre-race
By mile 4 I was limping. I couldn’t focus on racing or the women ahead of me; all I could think about was my leg. I tried changing my stride slightly, varied my foot-strike, anything for some relief, but nothing helped. I went back and forth between telling myself “this was a terrible idea” and “you’re going to be just fine, it’s just getting warmed up, just don't think about it.” My body was fine otherwise; I wasn't putting out a race effort, which was discouraging. I kept telling myself to toughen up; to just power through. Mind over matter. Make that leg work; force it to feel normal.
I made it through the halfway turn around in a solid 5th place. I knew by that point that my sought after PR was for sure out the window, but I hoped I could stay in the top 5. By mile 7 I was becoming increasingly concerned about my calf, and by mile 8 I was truly dragging my left leg along. My body kept saying, “just stop” but my mind wouldn’t listen. I thought about my seeded race ranking. I thought about my parents who’d traveled to watch me. I thought about how this could be my last run for awhile...what if this was my last race ever?!
By mile 10 I was truly worried my leg was going to give out with each step. My body begged me to stop, and my mind acquiesced that I would if I couldn’t hang on to a top 10 spot. I stumbled along, and a slight decline in mile 11 truly made my leg scream (had this course not been so flat I would certainly not have finished). At mile 12 I was still in 5th but I could tell someone was coming up on me. I knew I’d have no response when I was passed. She blew by me like I was standing still, and I figured several more were coming, but there was nothing I could do, and I was so close I knew I'd finish even if I crawled it in. Effort-wise I felt like I was out for an easy run, but my leg was shooting pain and wouldn’t move any faster. My positive splits told the story of my increasing discomfort.
I was so relieved to see the finish line ahead; I was going to make it in. It's funny how adrenaline carried me to the line but not a step farther. I had no idea what my time would be, but it didn’t matter at that point. I crossed in 1:24:18 and immediately broke into tears. If I’d just had an off day and run this time it would have been quite disappointing, but it wouldn’t have shaken me in my pursuit of a marathon PR; my recent 10Ks showed me my fitness was at an all-time high. I cried because at that moment I was certain my season was over. I got my last hurrah race but I couldn’t show my fitness in it. I was too stubborn to quit but not stubborn enough to over-ride my own body; I couldn’t force my leg to be okay.
Exactly how I felt photo 1
Exactly how I felt photo 2
Hindsight is 20/20, and I should have listened to my own body and head instead of what others told me. The whole week my gut told me no. I prayed about it and thought God told me no. I did it anyway. I was wrong. But I also didn’t know until I knew, and by then the damage was done.
Post-race I couldn't walk without holding onto someone or something. My cool down mileage wasn’t an option, and my dad ended up walking to the car and coming back to pick me up. To add injury to injury, my poor mom tripped and fell while trying to get from the start to a spot a few blocks away where we would later run by. She scraped and bruised her face, broke her glasses, and bruised up her knee and body. I was just sick about this happening to her; I felt like it was all my fault for not staying at home in Missouri like I clearly should have. Instead of having fun in Indy post-race, we headed home since we both couldn't really walk.
Most of the top 10, in no particular order
We both visited the med tent for ice!
I’m thankful I was able to finish, even though I shouldn’t have. I’m thankful I held on to 6th (video of the awards here; official results here). Happiness is based on happenings, but joy is based on Jesus. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t very unhappy, but I am aiming to choose joy. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9
Going from running 80 miles a week to 0 is a huge mind-trip, but I know that is what I have to do until I'm pain-free. I’m not going to do anything to risk permanent damage. As much as I want to run CIM 2018 in 2:44:59, I want to run for the rest of my life so much more. The good news is that I've had significant improvements every day post-race, and no longer fear that this is season-ending (plus I was able to go to work on Monday then walk across the Missouri State campus to teach on Tuesday, both of which I'd been quite concerned about!).
I didn't know I shouldn't have run until I did...now, I know.
Post-race meal at Texas Roadhouse
Fitting rest stop on the drive to the race
2 days after the race while I was on the spin bike
my cat knocked my award on my workout room
floor...it felt sadly symbolic
Week 8 has come and gone and I haven’t ran since the end of Week 5. I’ve tried to take the shin splints seriously because it can turn into something much worse that would take me out longer. Consequently, with only 10 weeks to go, the chances of being able to run a marathon in December are starting to look quite bleak. If feel a PR is definitely off the table, but I do still hope to run the 26.2 miles.
I basically didn’t do anything during the week. Aunt Flo came for a visit on Monday and I felt like asssssssssssss the whole week. I didn’t do a single thing until Thursday!
Monday – Wednesday: Nothing. Even though I did nothing, my shin finally started not hurting while walking! That’s a big deal! (I almost said HUGE but that word has forever lost all value) The hike in Telluride had NO EFFECT on my shin! I actually hadn’t gotten excited about that until writing this (10/2)!
Thursday: 2.5 mile hike at Apex Park – I had carpooled with W and we went straight to the park after work. I was only going to hike for as long as he was going to run, which ended up being a little over an hour. The hike was fine but boring – I did get to hear and see some bugling elk! It was good to get some fresh air.
Friday – Saturday: Nothing. Ugh. I really let my motivation go away this week, although I was preparing for a great adventure that I’d be doing on Sunday and Monday…
Sunday – Monday (of Week 9): The hike from Aspen to Crested Butte AND BACK! This totally made up for the lousy week that I had, and then some! When I’d initially talked to my friend, Bria, about doing this, I thought she only wanted to go one way. It wasn’t until a week before the trip that I realized she wanted to do an out and back! I was stoked as this would be an almost 22 mile adventure!
Sunday: I got up at 2:45AM (yes, that’s right) to throw myself together, as Bria would be picking me up at 3:20. I’d been a good girl and had everything packed and ready to go on Saturday night. One of Bria’s co-workers, Summer, was going with us as well so it was set to be an awesome ladies adventure! We got to Aspen around 7:00, parked, got a shuttle to the trail head, and began our hike sometime after 8am. We figured that 11 miles should take us 6-7 hours at most – more on THAT later.
Beautiful colors on the Aspen side
I didn’t weigh my pack, but based on how wrong I usually am about how much my pack weighs, I’m guessing it was about 40 pounds (felt much heavier). 40 pounds might not sound like a lot but it is when you are carrying it over 11 miles and 3200′ of elevation gain.
This was during the first couple miles
There were a ton of people around during the first couple miles, until we reached Crater Lake (a “lake” that was bone dry – they like to call all bodies of water around here lakes too, btw. Cracks me up!). Crater Lake was only two miles in but it took us over an hour to do it. Those first couple miles were the most beautiful, as far as fall colors go and being able to see the Maroon Bells. Those mountains are so majestic and it makes it look like you’re looking at a painting right in front of you.
Bria at Crater Lake
It usually takes me a couple miles to warm up (running or hiking) so I was feeling better by the time we got to Crater Lake, and it actually leveled off a tad then. We were all kind of going at our own pace but whoever was in front would stop to wait for the rest to catch up. I ended up being in front after several miles as the incline got steeper.
Headed towards the pass
From the Aspen side, it is about 6.5 miles to West Maroon Pass at just under 12,500′. You can see the pass from far off and it felt like it took forever to get to the top. The weather so far had been perfect, although a tad warm. I had on a t-shirt and capri-length pants. I wore my Nike Wildhorse 4 trail shoes for the hike because I’m not a fan of hiking boots (which I’m sure you’ve gathered from previous posts). They worked great for the hike, minus some really rocky parts.
You can see the top of the pass there. The willows were just beautiful – picture doesn’t do it justice.
We stopped at the top of the pass and took a longer break. Bria wasn’t feeling too well and said she experienced her first taste of a bit of altitude sickness. Carrying a heavy pack at altitude can bring out all sorts of things – refer back to my Mt. Shavano hike. Once she said she didn’t feel good, we knew we needed to start descending and it was quite windy on the other side of the pass.
Top of West Maroon Pass
The Crested Butte side wasn’t nearly as pretty as the Aspen side. We were expecting/hoping to see lots of aspens but there wasn’t a single one on that side. The willows and some of the other ground cover was really pretty, and you could tell it would be covered with wildflowers in the spring – I would love to see that side in the spring. The descent was just under four miles but it felt like it took FOREVER. We were just ready to get those packs off our backs.
This was our first view of the Crested Butte side. You can see all those spruce trees out there.
We finally reached the East Fork trail head and dumped our packs. Strava said our moving time was 5:40 but our elapsed time had been 8:11. Wowza. The trail head had nothing but a sign – no trash cans, bathrooms, nothing. We set up our tents – Bria and I in one and Summer in another. We pointed the tent doors at one another, just in case, and we’d be sleeping at about 10,500′. I’d brought a package meal for dinner – it wasn’t freeze dried and it was self-heating. It was a bacon hash which turned out to be YUMMY, but was only 260 calories! I didn’t realize that until I was finished and still hungry. Bria had a two-serving meal so I had several big spoonfuls of hers.
This was coming down the Crested Butte side of the pass
The only thing at the trail head were signs, one of which that said we needed a bear canister for our food. We’d brought dry bags and a rope so that we could hang it in a tree, but the only trees around were spruce – not ideal for hanging bear bags. You’re supposed to hang it from at least 4′ out from the tree but all the limbs were really short and close together. I walked around for a while before I found anything remotely suitable, and it was a dead limb. I only needed two tries to get the rope where I wanted it! Yeehaw! We each just left our food in the bags that we brought but they were HEAVY! I really didn’t think the limb would hold but it did!
Not really the right way to do it but it worked!
Monday: It rained on us most of the night and luckily we’d put our packs inside the tents. I used my Jet Boil to make water to refill my bottles, coffee, and to cook the hot quinoa blueberry cereal that I’d brought. We’d planned to be headed back by 7am but we didn’t wake up until then! By the time we did everything it was already 8:30 and we would need to be back to catch a shuttle by 5pm. Sounds like plenty of time but we didn’t want to chance anything – we knew we’d have to push through pain to make sure we got back in time.
The way back to Aspen would be “easier” because there is only about 2,400′ of gain but 2000′ of that is in that first four miles back up to the pass. We’d be working against tired legs and sore body parts from carrying the packs the previous day. We made it up the four miles in two hours which isn’t too bad! All along the way we kept smelling something that resembled wet dog. I think it was all of the dead wildflowers along the ground and the rain that had dampened them. Phew! Also, my Garmin was going dead so I decided to stop it at the top of the pass and use my phone/Strava for the rest. It worked even though I had no service! I thought that was super cool.
Summer, Me, and Bria at the top of the pass going back!
Once we crossed over the pass, it started to rain and we had 6.5 miles to go. Up to that point, it had been cool with an overcast – very nice. It was only a drizzle but enough to wear a rain jacket; I stayed pretty comfortable minus the fatigue and soreness from the pack. At one point I couldn’t do simple math by adding the four miles from my Garmin and the 3 miles Strava was saying. I announced to the gals, “We only have two miles to go! WOOOOO!” It took me two miles to realize my mistake, but apparently the gals already knew I was stoopid.
I was tired and water logged…
When we got to Crater Lake with two miles to go, we were DONE. None of us wanted to go any further but knew we had to. We threw the packs back on and went for it. I find that if I just zone out, the miles go by quicker. This is the one big thing I don’t like about backpacking… When the discomfort gets too great, you miss out on the great scenery around you.
We made it back in plenty of time for one of the shuttles; our total elapsed time for the return was about 7 hours, over an hour faster than the day before. Once we got back to the car, it was time to drive the three hours back to Denver.
Walking the final path to the finish
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Week 9 and how I felt after the hike…
Bits and pieces of the long slow road to recovery. No, I'm not 100% yet. Maybe I never will be. Worry about that later.
Shoutout to DrWhiskers for suggesting I do my strength work AFTER running. Duh, Dave. I also googled how often I should to them, and it looks like a couple days a week is about right. So much better than boring my skull out every day. I pick Tuesday and Thursday for it. The other four days (M/W/F/S) will be running days, and Sunday (as always) off. Careful, meticulous even, with the after run stretches.
No great improvement in how much Louie hurts and he still looks like he belongs on some other guy's leg, but every run feels OK, and if I think back over more than a few weeks, there's definite progress.
Fall weather in my neighborhood has descended. Sorry for anyone still suffering. I need this. The cooler weather and my (finally!) increasing endurance gave me confidence to try another 5 miles on Saturday for my long run. After two weeks at the 3 per day plateau, I'm starting to itch for longer stuff. Here's where I go off on a tangent about the joy of floating through double digit miles for one, two or three hours, watching the leaves turn and drift across the paths and sidewalks. Not yet. The numbers need to go up slowly.
But five is pretty nice if they feel good. And these certainly did. Mrs. Dave is in Seattle visiting family. I had my 9:00 am duty at the church for clean up, but nothing before, so I waited until the sun was up before starting. The news said it was 45 degrees, but I'm pretty sure it was chillier than that in the neighborhood. I almost wore long sleeves. Almost wore gloves. The first two miles I wished I had, but it wasn't terrible. Heading through the park I saw a bunch of cars off where they start the weekly ParkRun. I've thought about joining them in the years since they started doing this, but a 5K XC run, even though it's free, just never fit into my Saturday morning plans. I'm in no condition to race a 5K right now anyway. Nor am I in the mood. Just give me my five miles.
Still digging the new watch. Although, I'm not convinced the VO2max and race predictor calculations are accurate.
First mile slow, then ran the way I felt. I have the audible alerts off since I don't want it beeping for every phone call, text or news notice it gets, and I find I often miss the mile splits, since there's only a slight shake. Need to look into if I can have the beep for just the running. Anyway, I did catch #3 and it was 8:39. Not bad.
More importantly, I was feeling pretty good, and that hasn't really happened since this whole mess started. I was worried about a crash before the end. While #5 was a little tougher, there wasn't a crash. A good five miles.
And the splits were icing on the cake. 9:55, 8:39, 8:39, 8:39 and (wait for it!) 8:39.
Yes I did. Not blazing fast, just perfectly consistent.
Plan for this week: Add a mile to the M-W-F runs, and six on Saturday.
Spent the rest of the day working on a landscaping project in the back. I'm tired of fighting the bushes on the south side of the house. But I need the shade they give in the summer. So, I'm trimming back the grass and putting in brick edging along that side, then covering it all with mulch. Pics coming.
And I'm sort of thinking about Glass City next spring. At least a couple of Loopsters will be there. It's close. And I need to get Ohio off my list.
A little late in getting this one out…
Well, week 7 is over and I haven’t ran since September 8th. I’m trying to remain optimistic that I still have time to get in enough training to run a decent marathon, but it’s fucking hard to keep up. My hopes of completing a full training plan have once again gone down the shitter. Will it ever happen? Who the fuck knows.
Now that the fucks are over, let’s hear about what I actually did.
Monday: Barbell Strength – I got my lift on and my leg felt fine during this, as it always does.
Tuesday: 3000m row and 1000 steps at the Wellness Center after work – Instead of hitting up Planet Fitness for this workout, I just went straight to the WC after work and knocked it out. The WC has a Concept 2 rower which I like much better than the water filled one that my PF has – it feels much more efficient. I did the 3000m row in 13:30 which was a minute and a half faster than last time. I completed the 1000 steps in 14:10 which was almost two minutes faster than the last time. I get that these times really don’t mean anything but it’s something to strive for!
Thursday: We were leaving for Telluride this day but I wanted to hit up PF before we left. I got a late start so instead of rowing 3000m, I only did 1500m; one can only row for so long before it starts to get old. I still had a decent time but forgot to record it. I stuck with 1000 steps and kept it at either Level 9 or 10 the whole time. I got a good sweat on. I’d planned to do the circuit machines but only did about 7 of them once. There was a sweaty, bandanna man that kept using one of them and left a pool of sweat on and around it. I didn’t even go near that thing. I know those machines probably always have a lot of sweat on them, but I don’t wanna see it! We didn’t leave town until 10am and it was a six hour drive. The drive there was long but beautiful.
This spot by Black Canyon always makes for a good photo. The water is SUPER low right now…
By the time we got to Telluride and found a campsite, it was time for dinner (ramen and veggies), drinks (Moscow Mules in a plastic cup), and a gorgeous sunset! (Prepare for some picture vomit from here…)
My camera sucks for zooming but look at that cutie!
It doesn’t get prettier than that, folks…
Friday: REST – We took our time when we woke so that we could have breakfast and then head towards town – we hadn’t actually been through Telluride yet. It had been a COLD night sleeping at 12,000′ and it took a bit to thaw out. My hips were also a bit sore from sleeping on the ground, even though I had foam and inflatable pads and the ground was soft. During breakfast (a tasty vegan sausage hash) we were entertained by zippy chipmunks and mini-squirrels, but were being tormented by a Gray Jay that wanted our food! It kept swooping down at us and we had to keep an eye on everything!
You can barely see our tent and the car in there… It was a good spot!
We went into Telluride so that I could charge my phone and look up other possible places to camp. We hadn’t really thought it through because we went looking for camping spots too close to lunchtime. By the time we had been driving and driving around, we were both getting pretty hangry. We ended up camping at the Sunshine Campground were it was $20/night – not too bad! We set up our tent and headed back into town for a yummy meal; the meal wasn’t that great and ended up being like $75! When you screw up my noodles, we have a problem.
We had to camp on gravel but it was pretty!
It isn’t called Sunshine Campground for nothing! This is the drive that lead into it.
Saturday: From Pandora Mill to Bridal Veil Falls (BVFs) and up to Black Bear Pass hike – We’d originally thought we’d head back home Saturday evening so that we could have it as a lazy day Sunday, but we’d done so much driving around and not much else! We absolutely couldn’t leave Telluride without a good hike. We decided to do the BVFs hike that was actually on a 4×4 gravel/rocky road. Vehicles could drive up the trail to BVFs (almost 3 miles) but had to stop there. The rest of the trail was one way and could only be driven downhill from the other direction- for GOOD reason it turns out.
Creepy house at the top of the falls…
There weren’t a whole lot of people out hiking, especially past BVF. Shortly after we’d started up the one-way portion, we came to this really sharp curve where a Jeep was coming down, that was barely wide enough for a vehicle and promptly dropped off the side of the mountain. We decided to stop to let the Jeep come through – plus, we wanted to watch it make that curve! The next mile was pretty gnarly as far as 4x4ing is concerned. I remember reading reviews where folks were annoyed that they had to hike with vehicles passing, but it was entertaining!
The vehicles passing by kept asking us, “Are you going the whole way?” We didn’t know what the “whole way” was so we just kept telling people we’d be turning around after 5-6 miles. About 5 miles in, the trail turned back into 2-way (although it seemed like it’d be pretty sketch if someone needed to go the other way) but we weren’t seeing all that many vehicles coming. We saw that we were almost at the top of something so we decided to push forward. At 6.5 miles, we found that we’d reached a false summit and the top of the pass was about a mile more ahead. I didn’t want/need to go any further, so I sat on the edge and had an apple, while W ran to the top of the pass and back.
The point where I stopped was 12,500′
We headed back down but didn’t get to see any other vehicles on the way down. We had a good amount of shade on the way up, but not on the way down. Because it had been really chilly when we started, I only put sunscreen on my face and hadn’t brought any extra on the hike. The sun was beating down on us and we both thought we were going to get fried. I had a hooded long-sleeved t-shirt on and tried to keep the hood on as much as possible.
I took this pic for my bro who loves 4x4ing and Jeep Cherokees This was the tame part of the trail, btw.
The way back down seemed SO LONG. You could see really far down, but all the switchbacks made the distance seem really deceiving. We’d only brought a liter and a half of water for the both of us and we were running out quick. I was ready to be finished when we hit BVFs again, but we still had almost 3 miles to go! There were tons of people hiking up and back down when we reached the falls, and there were a lot of vehicles driving about as well.
The “falls” were a tad underwhelming… haha
We FINALLY made it back to the car and just collapsed in the seats. Almost 13 miles, 3600′ of elevation gain, and 5.5 hours later we had a burger and fries afterwards and pizza and drinks for dinner.
Sunday: REST- We woke up at 5:30am, packed up and was heading down the road by 6am. I’d slept in compression socks and kept them on for the drive home. I was expected my shin to be REALLY sore after that hike but it WASN’T! And it never got sore.
Thanks for reading!
During #soberJanuary, I went to Jekyll Brewing with a group of friends I'd met through the SFTC (South Forsyth Tri Club) and despite being sober and unsure of my impending injury, I ended up halfway agreeing to do the run portion of the August 70.3 Ironman relay.
Booted in February and March, I was reluctant to commit right away. April and May slipped by unnoticed and by the time I was approached about it again, I was back in the stupid boot. June and July passed with misery and when I started running again, 13.1 miles seemed like it was going to be really, really hard. But since I mumbled something to the effect of that sounds like a fun idea back in January, I sent Rudy the money for the team and hoped for the best.
7 weeks after being cleared to run, I found myself sitting on my front porch waiting for Casey to pick me up at 6:00 a.m. to head to Augusta. Going with a bunch of people who have competed in many, many triathlons was advantageous. They eagerly answered my thousands of questions and I soaked in all the knowledge they dispensed.
I had met Beth at the January event and she was our swimmer, the first event in the race. Every assured me that Doug was incredibly strong on the bike and they were excited that our team had a chance to put up a solid time in the relay category. Truth be told, this put some pressure on me to perform well as despite everyone reminding me it was for fun, I didn't want to let my teammates down.
Doug and I finally met at registration where we picked up our bibs, ankle timer, t-shirts, bags, etc., etc.
Lyndsay coordinated dinner at Savannah River Brewing company where we dined on Moe's and carbo-loaded with a few beers. It was a good way to forget about race nerves for awhile and complain about the impending warm day ahead for all of us toeing the line.
I laid out my flat girl at the hotel and got excited about racing in the morning!
Casey and I managed to get to sleep at a reasonable hour and I felt mostly rested when the alarm went off at 5:30. I rode with the group to transition and passed Miranda Carfrae amongst the sea of bikes! I am a big fan of triathlon despite having never raced one myself so I was fangirling pretty hard.
Back at the swim start, I watched the SFTC members slowly make their way towards the dock to start their races. They had a self-seeded start which made it look like a huge group of lemmings just following the crowd into the water.
Once I saw the final club members off, I walked back to the car and tried to cool off and rest a bit before getting my day started. I wanted to take a nap, but I was too excited to race so I just enjoyed putting my legs up and eat my overnight oats (with a banana peel because I forgot a spoon).
Following the tracker, I saw that the first pro male, Tim O'Donnell, was about to be running by so I hopped out of the car and managed to catch him coming through on his first lap. I watched for a few more minutes and then proceeded to get ready to race. I put on pounds of sunblock and Vaseline, changed into my Vaporflys, and told Sam & Kathleen I was going to do a warm-up run to the start.
The goal was to run 15 miles total with 12 at marathon pace in preparation for NYC. I have no idea what marathon pace is right now and coupled with the 90°+ and noon start, I was just ready to hold on for what felt like hard tempo. But, I knew that I would feel better prepared in NYC if I was doing these longer runs as prescribed, so I slowly jogged to the start line.
Having just met Doug the day before, I realized it might be tough to spot him when he came in. So I tried to keep an eye on the relay tent despite all the action happening around me at the bike transition. It was all so interesting - watching some people sprint from their bikes into the run and others taking their time to compose themselves before jogging to the next portion of the race.
Sam and Kathleen made it to the relay tent and they helped fill the time before Doug arrived. Unfortunately, Sam (who had promised to help me keep an eye out for him, oops!) had walked away and I was watching the run start when he came in. I sprung to action and we wasted no time throwing the ankle timer on me. And just like that, I was off!
I told myself to take it easy in the first mile, but I sprang into the race with fresh legs and competitive juices flowing after missing out for 5 months. 99% of the people I was sharing the course with had just swam 1.2 miles and biked 56 miles. I wove in and out of people as I made my way out of the bike transition area and onto the asphalt of the course.
It didn't hit me right away how warm it was. I hit the first mile marker in 7:31 and chastised myself for going out too fast. Oops. In the second mile, I noticed the heat creeping like a dark cloud coming over me. I had bypassed the first aid station so I didn't have to slow down, but now began to look for the next one. I saw someone wearing a SFTC kit and cheered Doug on when I came shoulder to shoulder with him. 7:23
I found sweet relief by pouring a bit of water in both my mouth and over my head. Cups of ice were being handed out and I dumped the entire cup into my sports bra. Then, a cold, damp sponge was handed to me and I stuffed it in the back of my sports bra. As the course rounded the corner to begin the descent down Broad, I was happy to find another aid station and throngs of spectators lining the streets. The crowd pumped me up and I heard Lyndsay and Paige screaming my name as I went through the intersection of Broad & 8th. 7:35
There was a woman standing with a hose along the street spraying runners as they passed by and I made a beeline to get as close as possible for maximum impact. I immediately felt my body temperature drop and bit and chomped up the pavement as I headed to the curve at Sibley. 7:19
At the aid station at Sibley, I grabbed a cup of ice and actually felt reasonably comfortable for a short while. I was hydrated, running well, and in the patches of shade along Broad, things seemed to being well. 7:40
I saw the SFTC group again, the finish line, and then made the turn at 11th to follow the course almost back to the beginning. 7:48
Just past the mile 6 marker, the course split for those making their second lap and those on their way to the finish. Though loop courses can be boring, I now knew exactly what I would be facing once I made my second lap. The stretch back to the start was very exposed and very boring. But I actually felt the best at this point. I had filled my sports bra with ice and grabbed an ice pop from a kid which was actually serving it's best purpose by keeping my hand cold. 7:35
But soon the endorphins started to fade and I started to tell myself I needed to just hold on for the last half. The second lap had even more people and despite my fade, I still was passing a ton of people who had already covered 60+ miles with their bodies that day. I told myself to suck it up as I was only doing the run. 7:58
Once I got to 9, I could visualize running the last section of the Greenway and knew just how much I needed to save in my tank to finish strong. 7:29
My feet started to hurt and I was holding ice in my hands at this point to try to keep everything cool. I was aware that I should have taken a gel at some point, but I also knew that I wasn't fading because of calories. 7:55
It was a slog to get to Sibley and the exposed sections seemed warmer and longer than before. I hated wasting time with just a few miles left in the race, but I also didn't want to have to walk the last mile. 8:01
The final foray down Broad gave me a bit more energy as I visualized getting back to the group at 8th & Broad and then making those final turns to finish. 7:44
At the mile 12 marker, I desperately wanted to turn on the gas and go, but I hardly had anything left in the tank. I stopped looking at my watch and just tried to gauge how much I could push once I got to the final turn. 7:44
Beth was standing on the corner near the finish chute and we cheered as I pumped my arms down the red carpet. Last 0.1 at 7:17.
I am 1/3 of a half Ironman finisher!
Volunteers were asking if everyone was okay as they stumble past the finish line. I was tired and hot, but not in need medical care. In fact, as soon as I grabbed the medals and finishers' hats for me and my teammates, I remembered that I still had a cool down run to do!
Old Carissa would have just said that 14+ was enough, but I am determined to do this training cycle right! So I found my teammates, gave them their bling, and got a photo before heading out for a 15 minute cool down.
After my cool down, I headed back to the finishers' area to grab some food and a celebratory beer. Then, I hung out with the SFTC and cheered the other racers as they wrapped up their days. We ended up coming in 5th out of 74 relay teams and my final run time was 1:40:36!
Things I did well: managed the heat with ice and water, kept expectations reasonable given the conditions, did a warm-up and cool down, ate reasonably (see the don'ts for the don'ts) well the day before the race and race morning, had a great time with a relatively new crew of people
Things I could have done better: figured out a way to squeeze in my shakeout run Saturday, drank less beer Saturday, ate 1 less donut on Saturday and Sunday (I ate 1 donut on Saturday and Sunday), taken my gel as planned, walked less and rested more on Saturday
But I'm satisfied with the result. I've run a faster half marathon split in a full marathonso obviously I'm not super excited about my time. But given the conditions and the fact that I was cleared to run 7 weeks ago, I am satisfied.
Next up: Hinson Lake 24 Hour on Saturday! Goal is to run 20-31 miles over the course of 24 hours and eat the pizza while it is hot for once. It will strange to not be competitive, but good for me to watch and cheer on other people looking to reach their big goals.
So, the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 and I had a good week. Monday through Saturday we ran every day. A couple were short of the planned 3 miles, but that's because the route was a tad short and I'm not in the mood yet to be a stickler for the numbers. 19.71 total.
This makes three weeks in a row I've run without a miss.
People who lift/ XT regularly know this already, but I'm discovering that weights just before running makes running harder. At least, when you're almost 60 and trying to get back into shape. Also doesn't help that summer was trying it's best to suck the life out of me before fall arrived Saturday. I'm assuming it was personal, anyway. Maybe not. It's the sort of thing you have to keep in mind, though.. Otherwise, you think there's something wrong, like congestive heart failure or cancer or some other health issue that's barely allowed to be discussed lightly these days. My point is, watching my heart rate (which I can actually do now with the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235) zoom up to 180-190 bpm on what was supposed to be an "easy" 2-3 miler, when less than a year ago I was still thinking about a possible BQ ... sort of makes you wonder about all sorts of worst case scenarios.
I had a couple of runs that weren't terrible. In one case it was 70 degrees outside instead of 90, so I figured it was just the weather. Except then I had another day that wasn't broiling and it pretty much sucked, so I needed a new theory. Two Saturdays ago I stretched my "long" run to 4 miles. Since it was Saturday and I needed to finish before starting a full day of other stuff, I skipped most of the intense exercises. Surprisingly (😒), it went better than most of my 3 milers had that week.
Brings me to this past weekend and after going 3 miles each day instead of 2, I was also planning on trying for 5 on the long one. Got an email on Friday that a divorced woman at church needed some help cleaning up her large yard Saturday morning for an hour. Since I already was committed to cleaning the church at 9, I had to bump my run ahead the extra hour. First dark run in quite a while. I'm no longer fearless about running in the dark. Age has given rise to paranoia about stepping on a rock or the edge of a curb or something, setting back my recovery another who knows how long. So I grabbed one of the knuckle lights I got from Ms Ritz a few years ago and ran one of the better lit routes I know.
Fall came that evening, astronomically speaking, but the weather was ready first thing in the morning. You know how sweet 48o tastes after a long hot and humid summer? It's like candy, my friends. With the knee feeling pretty good, I skipped all the normal work before and just ran. Wise? What do I know about wise. No issues with Louie, though, so it must have been an OK idea. Before 6:00 on a Saturday morning, there's not much traffic, automotive or pedestrian. There was one guy I exchanged greetings with twice as our out and backs overlapped, but other than a couple of cars passing, it was nice and quiet. The best part was I was able to run the entire 5 miles without a break.
I assume as I get used to the weights and whatever, and obtw just get into shape again, it will be less sucky to run after doing them. I've read that 2-3 days a week is optimal for weight training anyway, so doing those Tuesday and Thursday, with just the lighter stuff the other days isn't cutting any important corners. As they get easy I also assume I'll need to get heavier weights?
Since the new yet-to-be-named Forerunner 235 does the heart rate thing, I decided to wear it most of the day to see what it says about that. I also sort of like getting notifications for calls/texts/etc. on my wrist. Didn't think I'd like it, but I do. Funny getting used to wearing a watch again, though. Mrs. Dave asked me once what time it was, and as I reached across the table to get my phone and look, she reminded me that I probably had that info in a handier spot.
For the benefit of inquiring minds, I stopped at Home Depot in the afternoon and picked up some grass seed. The back lawn has never recovered from a hot dry spell in early July when we were out of town, so I thought I'd try boosting it now that fall is here, as well as getting some grass over where I cut down the mulberry tree this summer. Also priced out some landscaping material to redo an area along the side and back of the house that I haven't been happy with for a few years, and started clearing that out.
Lastly, next week is the registration time for the 2019 Hood to Coast Relay. So far there's 6-7 who've said they want to be part of the team. A team is 12, so if you're still thinking about it, there's room. I considered abandoning the idea, but then figured this is my dream and I'm not going to be swayed by a lack of interest in our now tiny community. I'd prefer to have all Loopsters, but that's not a requirement. And there's still almost a year to put the full team together. Besides, I've missed out on the lottery twice already. There's no guarantee that we'll even get in.
Have a great week, everyone.
Hi. I still run.
After the pretty amazing 13.1 in Utah (and days and miles of hiking), my legs were destroyed, and boy, did I feel it for a few weeks, so I took a little time off. Did some more yoga, did lots of renovation work, mowed the lawn, went to work conferences, and delt with some pretty major life stuff.
Then, I found my wedding dress and the typical, "I want to look as gooooooooooood as possible in this thing" thought rose to my head, and I joined a Beachbody challenge. My running was minimal, essentially a Sunday 4 miler when I had the energy. And then last weekend, I was with the fiancé and was thinking about our future and just said, "I think I'd like to run another marathon before we have kids".
And he said okay. Asked when, I said I didn't know. Spring seems out, as that's when we are getting married and the thought of trying to plan a wedding AND train for that distance seems like too much. Also, I'm totally using this as an excuse to travel and we are already planning a big trip around that time. Fall seems the most practical and not too much of a delay in starting a family.
So, fall. Starting ramping up the mileage & frequency of runs this week, just in time for some cooler mornings.
The 5k was intended, the 10k happened by accident..
This was my only race for the year, the church 5k for IOCC charities. This year the money raised went to the St. Nektarios Fund, which builds schools in Uganda and Kenya. When Fr. Armatas arrived at the last school site, he found the children had already made some thousands of bricks, to build their school with..
No-one wanted to stand in front on the start line so I went over and started first, I have no shame. A young Ethiopian passed me first, jogging easily (for him) then a Peruvian. At the 3km mark a young Russian man joined me and we ran together until near the finish. He said 'do you want to sprint for the finish ?' I said no thanks and encouraged him to finish strong. The Ethiopian boy won in about 19min. So, first American ! ha. Well, first American citizen, I'm also an immigrant.
One of our boy scouts, now an Eagle Scout, finished shortly after me. This is Pericles, known as Percules in the scouts since he's so strong. We decided to jog back around the route to meet up with our families. My wife was walking very fast, trying to keep up with one of the vigorous old ladies who power the church, so was just a km or so back. We went on to find Pericles' mother but never saw her. By that time we were more than halfway around, so decided to just keep going, and ran his first 10k. His mom found me later and said, "I was worried about Pericles for a bit, but then realized you were here, so if he was doing something crazy then he was probably with you so it would be OK." Not quite sure if that's a compliment or not.. didn't think I was such a wild and crazy Scoutmaster 😉
Here are my times on this race. As a stripling of 50 in 2010,
I'm running more distance and more speedwork now than I was in 2010, so that doesn't help either. I'm getting slower faster than I can train harder..
My friend Carl is a sponsored runner so I've been joining their Thursday evening runs from the Lone Tree Runner's Roost. This is my speedwork, trying to keep up with all the gazelles here. It gets a good turnout usually, many of these folks have ultra trail running habits. In the pic I'm the slow one standing diffidently at the back..
I had hoped to do at least one triathlon this year, but in the event wound up driving #1 son back to college in MN the week before the planned race. I took a couple of days off to fish some trout streams in the Driftless area. Never knew that MN had rainforests and tornados, but experienced both in the course of a not-very-relaxing few days.. came home a bit shattered. It seems to take me weeks to recover from a holiday, anymore..
The sun already set, not below the horizon, but behind the cauliflower clouds, a halo hanging just above the earth. Orange-brown light bled through the thin spots like an iodine stain, and it rimmed the crest with a subtle ember glow. The entrance to my trail shrouded by the gloom.
I was late, too late. Helping Eli with his homework, I let the evening slip by. I saw the clock and snapped: “You’re on your own. I need to go run.” Ten minutes later, I stood with my car at the trail-head, contemplating my usual route, wondering what would happen if I ran the woods in the dark. Across the street, another option, an out-and-back winding across a field. I avoid this trail. Too public, too many horses.
This night I chanced the field. The horse-back riders probably long gone, heading home for a late dinner and a glass of wine. I started at a trot, my only warm-up. No stretching, no high-knees, just the short drive from my house. My muscles already loose, the temperature hovered close to ninety.
Gaining speed as I churned up the half-mile slope leaving the stream-valley that parallels the roadway, thick, watery air caressed my cheeks and arms, comforting, but difficult to breath. My shirt and shorts already clinging with sweat.
Out across the field, a dirt path gashed through the end-of-season grass, waist-high, gone to seed, harboring countless rabbits and a family of white-tail deer. The critters bounded away at my intrusion on their evening meal. The twilight deepened as I rounded a farm-house and followed my trail into the woods, worrying a bit about the descending darkness and the knowledge that I was still running away from my car.
As I turned to retrace my steps, I pushed up my sleeves and twisted at my shorts trying to reduce the friction of my soaking clothes. My sodden ball-cap, fully saturated, couldn't absorb any more sweat. Rivulets streaked my face and glasses. The rhythm of my feet striking the disappearing trail broke the silence of the twilit dusk. Mid-field, I once again disturbed the grazing deer. They scattered through deep grass and over a decorative wooden fence to perceived safety.
Gliding down-hill towards the stream, I shivered. Despite the temperature, my wet clothes sapped my heat. My muscles, tapped of energy, prematurely began to cool. As I recrossed the stream, I walked—unable to see the water and trip-stones clearly in the dark.
Back at my car, I realized that night had settled over the park. I had a momentary flash of panic that my family might be worried about my safety. As I returned to my calm, well-lit house, I tried to match my family’s mood—they were in social mode. Eli done with his homework; Sophie taking a break from hers; Susan, her evening responsibilities complete, holding court in a good-natured conversation. Instead, I retreated, alone, to my screened-in porch, quietly drinking a glass of water.
More at jefftcann.com
The Vermont 100 on 100 is my favorite race so you're probably wondering why it's taken 4+ weeks to post a RR. Me too, but no excuses, right. In case you're new around here, 100 on 100 is a 100 mile relay race on Route 100 in Vermont. This was the 4th year a Loop team has entered. This year was my 3rd time running this relay. It's such a fun day of running and spending time with friends I don't see often enough. Throw in the weekend trip to Vermont and it's a getaway, race and mini-Loopfest all rolled into one fun weekend.
100 on 100 fell on the same weekend when I had 18 miles on the calendar so OCrunnergirl wisely "volunteered" me for an 18 mile leg. Perfect! I must have hit the tangents because Garmin says it added up to only 17.8 miles, but who's counting.
The weekend started shortly after lunch when I simply could not wait any longer to get the party started. I left the office to start the drive to Killington, VT where KRG had found a nice roomy condo to rent. I'm terrified by open spaces, which is how Vermont can be described, but soon enough Siri had guided me to the condo tucked into the side of Killington mountain. Soon all members of the team arrived and we made our way to a restaurant for dinner and drinks.
The alarm went off way too early the next morning. We had about an hour drive to Stowe, Vermont where we would check in and start the race. Apple Pie expertly guided us to Stowe where we checked in and helped him get ready for the first leg. After that we drove onto Rt. 100 to decorate the van and cheer on our team members. Here is a pic of the van after some light rain washed away some of the paint. I don't have the pic after KRG and Jschneid fixed the damage, but here is the partially fixed van.
Jschneid was the next runner. We made him cross the road and stop to get into a picture at Ben & Jerry's. He didn't seem to mind and didn't even pause his watch.
Vermont has a lot of mountains and streams. The obligatory waterfall pic:
For the rest of the day we alternated between running, eating, and cheering for the rest of the team. About 15 hours later we crossed the finish line where a buffet dinner and beer were waiting. Nice way to end the day.
The medal was different this year. I like it.
After eating and drinking we made our way back to the condo where Ben & Jerry's ice cream was waiting. A few of us stayed up late talking and catching up, but soon exhaustion was too much and everyone made their way to bed. We went out for a big breakfast the next morning and then left to make the drive back home to reality. These kinds of weekends go by way too fast.
We're trying to put together 2 teams for next year. Think about it, but be warned: You will want to keep coming back.
I'm in taper mode now. Marathon #5 is 10/7. Breaking 4:00 has been a barrier for me. Training was solid for a sub-4 on the last two attempts. One was slowed by the killer weather at Philly Loopphest 2 and last year was slowed by a back strain. I feel under trained speed-wise this time but am still shooting for that 3:59. Now the goal is out there so I'm accountable.
"Do you remember those shirts I said we should've made?"
I thought back to our jokes over text message about making shirts with just a big poop emoji. It's for running AND babies! we'd lol-ed. Equally adaptable!
"Now would be a good time to have them."
I looked back at E over my right shoulder, huffing away behind her jogging stroller with infant car seat adapter, said car seat and said infant both securely attached. I made a face. "Almost there," I said uselessly.
The night before the race was strange. Even though DH made a big deal about me signing up for a 5 miler as my very first race back, I was way more worried about if BL (baby L) was going to be ok. So what if I hadn't run 5 miles yet? So what if I'd been sick for the whole week before? SO WHAT? 5 miles is nothing. 5 miles is...
"Oh-my-god-I'm-dying," I panted as I pushed the 8 million ton stroller up a steep incline. "I wish I trained more."
"I skipped way too many Sunday runs," E agreed. "I only did like, four?"
I stayed silent as I tallied up the Sunday runs I had done in my head. It didn't take very long because I didn't have far to count. The number was, surprise surprise, zero.
BL saw a seagull for the first time and did her little stiff bodied excited noise. She was suspicious about touching the beach sand. There was no porta potty line. All in all, a good pre-race situation. Once it was time to line up, we ambled over to the start and took some photos in Superman poses. Maybe we should warm up, we said, and did some half-hearted squats. E jogged in place. I took selfies with BL. At the start, the RD had a portable microphone and an air horn. "I hope the air horn works!" she said. "I hope it doesn't," E whispered to me.
I started to feel better at mile 3. It was because I was finally warmed up, NOT because the race turned from north back south, toward the water, downhill. Nope, definitely not that. There were a couple intense looking older guys with double strollers who I ignored as they were clearly superhuman mutants... but there was one regular stroller couple who were taking turns pushing it. Cheating, basically. Their son was older and when he saw E and I draw close at a water stop, he said, "Daddy! Go faster so we win! Don't let them win!" You just sealed your fate, kid, I silently scoffed. Only 50 yards ahead of us with a mile and a half to go, we closed the gap.
Stroller Lady heard me breathing (really hard) behind her left shoulder. She turned to look, startled a little bit, and sprinted ahead for a few steps before slowing back down. Ha! I got you now! Her son peered around the edge of the stroller, fear in his eyes.
The requisite child cheer section appeared around the corner. As we approached, I held my hand out for slaps while saying, "Watch-out-watch-out-watch-out!" There's only so much I would be able to do if excitable Timmy decided to jump out in front of me. They were by in a blur. Then, the last water station and we skipped it, duh. It wasn't going to help now.
I really, really wanted to slow down but I could hear the finish line speakers blaring "Another One Bites the Dust," which was honestly a pretty bad song to be playing at a race finish line. I passed DH taking photos, tried to smile, then made the hairpin turn into the parking lot - which took a lot more muscle than I was expecting - and finally done. Gasping. I high-fived E, who was looking way more composed than I felt. "Great job!" she cheered. "Hrnghurrr," I said.
The stroller immediately became a thing to lean on and catch my breath. DH caught up with us and took over for a bit. "How'd you do?" he asked. I showed him my watch. 5 miles in 49:06, just under a 10 minute pace. "Nice," he said. E came over and said she had to go but she had Fridays off for the next few weeks and did we want to run together next week? "The usual time?" I said. "Sure."
Monday: Barbell Strength – Since I knew I’d be going in for my PT appointment at 5pm, I took it easy on the legs in class and didn’t do very much weight. I still love this class, minus the folks that are trying to learn to become instructors in it. When they don’t stay to the count they are counting or to the rhythm of the music, it throws me off and is frustrating. You can cause someone to jack themselves up if you’re not careful. I’m sure being an instructor isn’t easy, which is why I’m not one.
PT Appointment with Chris: I went to see the owner of the gym that I was recently a member of, who is also a PT. Chris, owns Calibrate Sports Health and is an amazing guy. He previously dry needled and cracked on my back a couple months ago and it has felt really good ever since. He didn’t charge me anything because he said that members always get a free session. He asked me some questions, pressed on and twisted my leg around, and told me that I should look into getting a X-ray. He also put some Rock tape on it to help with some of the inflammation, while not charging me a single thing for any of it.
Tuesday: I was so worried that it was going to be something serious and I REALLY wanted to know, so I started calling around at 7am on the way to work. I called the same place that W used when he needed to get one. They had a 9:40am appointment so I grabbed it! I was carpooling with W so I had to drop him off at work and take his car. My phone also had 1% battery when I was leaving his office, so I had to write down the directions so that I could find it! Navigating around Denver, in rush hour traffic, was a bit scary but I didn’t have any issues. I was super early so I found a Starbucks so that I could have some coffee and charge my phone. This place was super efficient and had me in and out in no time. The doctor examined the x-ray, twisted and tapped on my leg, and told me that he thought it was just shin splints/stress reaction, likely partly due to my tight calf and achilles. I was SO RELIEVED to here the news and felt so much better afterwards. The doc said that I could run but would likely need to plateau my miles until it starts to feel better.
Kinda cool to see my own bones. They pretty…
Wednesday: Yoga Roll
Thursday: Follow-up appointment with Chris- Chris was able to fit me in that afternoon and wanted to discuss how to move forward. Amazingly enough, Chris asked that instead of paying him for his services, if Calibrate Sports Health could sponsor me! Huh? Me?! He said that he loved the cool things that I was doing, especially my pursuit of a summit of Denali! He said that he can help keep me tuned up and if I ever have any issues, I can come in to get it fixed. I can also take any of the classes they offer at any time! I feel so honored that he wants to do this and I hope to make him proud! He gave me some Rock tape with Rock Sauce (like Icy Hot but doesn’t effect the adhesion on the tape – smells as bad as Icy Hot though! haha!), a couple pairs of Calibrate Injinji socks, and said that he’d be getting me some Calibrate gear so that I can represent! I’m super excited about this opportunity!
Ignore the toes that badly need a pedicure!
Saturday: Planet Fitness workout – Luckily, I’ve kept my PF $10/mon membership for emergencies since it’s walking distance from my house. I walked the half a mile there, jumped on the rower and rowed 3000 meters in 15 minutes. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but I wanted to keep track for future workouts. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work up a good sweat, but my arms were sweating by the time I was done. Next, I hopped on the Stair Master and climbed 1001 stairs in 16 minutes. I was really breathing hard and felt accomplished when I was done! SCORE! After that, I went to the 30 minute circuit area and did the round of 10 machines (no steps exercises) twice. It really felt like a great workout that I will likely do again next week. I walked the half a mile back home then realized I’d left my keys hanging up in the gym. I walked back to get them and then walked back home, which made a nice 2 mile walk total.
Sunday: REST – Chris is working on a training plan for me that will last until Rehoboth. I’m excited to see what he comes up with and I’m ready to get it started.
Today (Monday), I am seeing a noticeable different in the pain level. I feel like it’s actually starting to ease off a bit. I haven’t ran since last Saturday and I’m not sure when my first run will be. For the time being, I’m trying to get it to stop hurting while I’m walking. I don’t feel I should run on it until then, and I’ve had others agree as well.
Thanks for reading,
After last week I'm starting to get a little excited.
Certainly, I'm encouraged. Progress is still slow, but it's at least noticeable now. No more nightmares of being permanently out of action. This week I'm worrying more about getting into shape again. Have to remind myself that I've only been running regularly for two weeks. I'm not even to a point where I can go very far without a walk break. Two miles is the max so far. Getting into fall will help I bet. Had a couple of cooler, dryer days last week and it was pretty sweet.
Hey, so let me talk about running for a second. Just a couple of miles at a time, except I did a "long" run on Saturday. Four miles. I've mentioned that running seems to help more than hurt, and doesn't give me any extra pain the next day, so I've fully incorporated running into my daily routine again. That's right ... DAILY. As in, every day (except Sunday). This is going to be a long, slow build up. Two miles per day. This week I plan to extend that to three. Whether I do four again on Saturday or try for five will depend on what three miles a day does to Louie.
Of course, this also means that I'm thinking about how soon I can try for marathon training. No schedule yet, but I have a rough idea. Next spring seems reasonable without going through the numbers. I need to get up over 30 miles per week before diving into an actual training plan, so the first thing will be to figure out how long it's going to take me to get there. Right now I'm at 14. This week may be 20 and I'll likely plateau there for 2-3 weeks.
Anyway, say November I'm ready for higher mileage. February or March would be the earliest time 26.2 would be wise, depending on what sort of winter we have this year. Suppose I can also go back to Planet Fitness and use their dreadmills in an emergency. Given what snow running just did to the old knees, that could be the smart play.
So, those four miles on Saturday. We put T-Rex on the plane for school Thursday morning, so we've got the place to ourselves again. Mrs. Dave was at work that morning, and I woke up early like an old man. Took my time getting ready. Went through the easy portion of my hip exercises (left the weights out) to loosen things up and was pretty happy when there wasn't any pain in the early part of the run. It's been taking up to a half mile before it feels good. No pushing the pace, of course. Ran up over I-275 and out behind the shopping center where Gazelle Sports is. GS is a small retailer based on the west side of MI. Their local store here is two miles from my house, so it's a perfect 4 mile out and back. There's a park-ish area with a fountain and usually some geese and/or ducks. Someday - or so I'm told - there's going to be trails and stuff from there another two miles to the west, all the way down to Hines Park. Perhaps I'll still be here when that happens. The old psych hospital a mile up is finally posted for demolition, so that's progress of a sort.
I ran the two miles out with no break, then stopped to catch my breath for a few. Did OK on the way back, but needed a short walk with a half mile to go. Suppose I could have made it the rest of the way in, but in the interested of keeping the pressure low, I walked. Sue me.
Helped clean the church building for an hour, then drove to Gazelle for my newest piece of gear.
Mrs. Dave OK'd a replacement for Prince Henry back in January for my birthday. I did a bunch of research, then bought a TomTom. I liked it fairly well, but the software (for me anyway) was glitchy and I couldn't get their Help Desk to be much help, so I sent it back. About then I hurt the knee. Didn't see much point in spending the money on a running watch if I wasn't going to run anymore, so I put the whole idea on the back burner. More research and a lowering of the price on the 235 (since everybody wants more features and the 235 doesn't have many), (and, oh btw, I'm running again) turned me back to Garmin and this guy.
He needs a name now. Or maybe he's a she?
First run with him/her/it will be this afternoon.
In case you hadn't noticed, Fall is Saturday. Officially. The forecast for my neighborhood has some good autumnal weather in it, so I'm hoping for a good run as well. Hope everyone who got hit by Florence is OK. So much water.
Going to be watching as many of you running fall races as I can, since there are no races on my calendar yet.
Speaking of marathons, holy Eliud Kipchoges.
I'll assume everyone who reads this knows about HTC. It's still on my bucket list and I'm going to try again for next year to go. Of course I need eleven other Loopsters to join me. The normal deadline for application is October 3rd, but since we've been rejected before we can be in a special side lottery, with a mail-in application date of October 1st.
Reply or send me a note if you want in.
When I saw my mile 1 split, the 5K course clock, and my mile 4 split during the Plaza 10K, a thought kept popping into my head: "I'm either going to kill my PR or blow up so hard". God blessed me with the former; I ran a PR of 36:34, nearly a minute under my previous road PR from the 2017 Plaza 10K and even under my track PR of 37:09 (I also broke 18:00 for the 5K for the first time during the process). I thought races like this only happened to other people, and I may never beat this time, so I am going to ride this post-race high so hard!
Working on my season goal of smiling in my
I thought I'd worked my PRs down low enough (in relation to my capability) that I'd be lucky anytime I could shave off a few seconds. It's always blown my mind to see long-time runners with already fast times drop a lot of time off of a PR, especially when they remark afterwards that they got out there and felt fantastic running faster than they'd expected, so they just kept going and ran a time beyond what they'd dreamed. I've had some break-through races like this years ago before I was running to my potential (the 2015 Waddell and Reed half was the most memorable one, when I hoped for 1:26:59 and ran 1:24:33), but I thought I was to the point where my margins were thin enough that dropping even 2-3 seconds/mile would be a really good day. In fact, I went into the Plaza 10K thinking that if I had a really good day I might be able to rival my track PR of 37:09. I thought if a miracle happened I might hit 36:59 and my big dream goal of breaking 37, but that would be a stretch.
Since I ran this race last year, I knew the course and logistics, which is always helpful. I also had a planned pace partner, my friend Jessi who I trained with as often as I could while she was running for MSU (she now lives in Kansas City). I seemed to always nail workouts when I ran with her, so I was optimistic that she and I could pull each other through to stronger performances than we'd have alone. I felt good coming off my performance 6 days previously at the Run for a Child 10K, and I also felt completely recovered from that, despite being in a 73 mile week (I did get 2 short days prior to the race, which helped!). I knew the women's field as a whole would be very competitive, and when race morning gave us 58 degree temperatures, fast times looked promising.
The start seemed much more crowded than this!
At the gun, a lot of women took out fast, Jessi included. I quickly realized that she was used to cross-country and track racing where it's important to establish position early. I wanted to be with her so we could work together as planned, but I knew that it wasn't smart for me to go out any faster than 6:00 (6:05+ was actually my plan - after Run for a Child especially I wasn't afraid of a slow first mile). I settled into pace hoping that I would reel her back in before too long. My first mile was still faster than I'd wanted at 5:57, but the effort felt appropriate so I tried to push any worry out of my mind. I was moving up in position towards the end of the first mile and the beginning of the second, although at no point during the race did I know or care what place I was in.
I pulled up with Jessi towards the end of the mile 2, and settled in stride with her. I didn't look at my second mile split because I felt like I was running exactly as I should be for a 6.2 mile race. I didn't want to get discouraged if the pace was slower than I wanted, and I didn't want to get scared if it was faster than I'd expected. Mile 2 was 5:48 so I'm glad I didn't look because I would have been worried I was going too fast too early. I have learned to trust that I race best when I race by effort, and I've learned to let go of thinking I need to micro-manage every single split, especially when I'm in a competitive field.
Jessi and I said a few words of encouragement to each other and pressed on side-by-side. Janell was also right in front of us (I mentioned her in my post about Rock the Parkway, where we ran nearly the whole race together before she out-kicked me - she is also training for a 2:45 at CIM and working with the same coach as me!). We all passed the 5K clock together, and it read 18:08ish, although based on my splits it should have been more like 18:20, which doesn't surprise me because every course mile marker seemed slightly wrong, most of them too soon. I hadn't looked at my mile 3 Garmin split, and I didn't do the math on our pace, but did tell Jessi, "Well, I just ran a 5K PR". I felt like I was running within myself, and I felt like I could run that pace for that distance again (usually I don't at the 5K mark of a 10K!)....but at the same time I thought, "This is either going to go really well or really poorly!" I also kept thinking, "58 degrees is like a performance-enhancing drug!"
Jessi & I synchronized running right
behind Janell on the Plaza
Mile 4 has a lot of decline in it, so I expected it would be my fastest mile. I didn't make any conscious moves at any point during this race, because my goal was to get the best 10K I could out of myself and not worry about what anyone else was doing, but Jessi and I had gapped Janell slightly at some point after the 5K, and I started pulling away from Jessi as I accelerated down the decline. I encouraged her to stick on me, but we separated at that point. It was almost like Run for a Child was a preview for this race in regards to how I felt; I felt like I kept gaining momentum as the race progressed and I just felt so good. I also kept reflecting on how much better I felt at every point on the course than I had in 2017! I looked at my mile 4 split mainly because I figured it would be a confidence boost with the decline, and it was 5:38. I felt like I had a solid 2.2 more miles in me, but at the same time kept thinking, "I'm either going to get a huge PR or huge blow up!"
Around mile 4
Mile 5 goes back up most of the elevation that drops in mile 4, so I expected it to be my slowest mile, although it wasn't. I was pulling in a couple of men so I focused on them and maintaining my turnover. I looked at my mile 5 split because I wanted to get some gauge on where I was at overall, and it was 5:52, which was a pleasant surprise! Strava grade-adjusted it to 5:40 on flat ground. I also realized that I still didn't have a great gauge on where I was since I hadn't looked at my mile 2 and 3 splits and I wasn't smart enough to look at my total elapsed time, but I felt ready to pound it in with all I had and to see what that got me!
It's a nice course, but it's not a track!
Mile 6 also has some uphill before some decline to the finish, and I remembered how very long that mile felt the previous year. I felt strong this time, but also pretty spent, and in hindsight I may have pushed up the incline in mile 5 a little too much. However, I was also in no man's land during the final mile - I was not going to catch anyone and no one was going to catch me. I think if I'd been with someone I could have closed at 5:40-5:45, but I pushed as much as I could solo, which was another 5:52 (I didn't look at that split during the race).
Once I was close enough to read the finishing clock, it read 36:12, and I knew I was going to be way under 37:00. I kicked it in with all I had left, which gave me a 5:25 pace final 0.28 on my Garmin and a bright shiny new PR of 36:34, chip time! One of my season goals is to smile for my finishing pictures, but I think I'd have been glowing in this one even without that game plan. My previous road PR was 37:30, which I ran last year at this same race, and my track PR is 37:09 so I beat that as well.
Finishing with joy
As I walked through the finish chute and then enjoyed an 8 mile cool down with great friends (Jessi, Janell, and Michelle from left to right below), it all felt surreal. I thought 36:59 would be a big stretch, but I certainly never expected to run in the mid-36's - at this 10K or ever! I also forgot what it was like to run in 58 degrees after a sweltering summer, but I quickly remembered that I like it!
I love how we can all race each other while supporting each other 100%
This course was certified so it was 6.22 miles, but my watch read 6.28 (at Run for a Child, which is also certified, it said 6.15). It was more difficult to run the tangents in this one, though, due to a more crowded field. I've decided if I had to choose I'd rather has a Garmin reading that's a little long than one that's a little short, because I want to know I for sure ran the distance (but right on would still be most preferred). Can you tell I like data?
Because when your Garmin says 5:49, you
take a picture!
As a whole, GAP was -2/mile on average pace
I am riding the post-PR high for all that it's worth! Like Run for a Child, this was a really nice checkpoint and confidence boost for me. I'm running pretty much all of the same races this fall that I ran in 2017, so I can see how my fitness compares, and so far so good on my progress! Being able to maintain the pace I did in this race really shocked me, because I haven't done any real speed work; my training has been strength-focused (tempos, long runs with some fast finishes/pick ups, and mileage). Really all that I've run at 5:49 pace has been strides and fartleks (and sometimes not even those!). So add this to my data indicating that speed work is worthless, haha! Especially because I also ran a 5K PR during this race, with my fastest 5K coming in at 17:55 on my Garmin. I won't count it as an official PR, but it shows me that I can do it. My actual 5K PR is 18:18, and 18:17 + 18:17 = 36:34, so this race was a faster pace as a whole as well.
I will probably never beat this
This would also be my fastest 2 mile
since high school track!
Official results are here. I was 6th overall female and 1st in age group 35-39.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. - Proverbs 16:3
The more I give my running to God, the better I feel about it. That doesn't mean I perform any better or see linear progress - and early 2018 is sure proof of that - but that I know I'm going to be just fine no matter how races and workouts go. I'm sure thankful for this one, and also for the opportunity to continue to pursue my running dreams. Next up is the Indy Women's Half Marathon on September 29!
It's been awhile since I've come down the final stretch of a race to see a finishing time faster than expected with less effort than expected, but it's sure a great feeling! This was my fourth consecutive year running the Run for a Child 10K, and each year I've run faster there, although I didn't expect to continue that streak this year. My race plan of "win with the least effort possible" turned into winning overall female by over 5 minutes with a negative split and a 37:55, which was a course PR. It was one of those races where I felt like I kept gaining momentum and couldn't slow down - and those are rare to come by (I think the last time I felt like this was the Phoenix Marathon). I was pumped about defending my overall female title from 2017, I was ecstatic to break 38 on the hilly course in warm and humid conditions, but I was most thrilled about just how good I felt doing it! I guess God knew I needed a little confidence-boost at this point in my training, and I am very thankful for it.
The big check photos prop never get old to me
Packet pick up; I always travel in
I keep going back to the Run for a Child 10K each year; I am picky about races so this is saying something. I know it's always going to be warm, humid, and hilly, but for some reason I can embrace that for this race, I think because every year is comparable. My only goal going into the 2018 event was to try to defend my overall female title from 2017. That fate of that type of goal always depends on who else shows up, but I never stress about it like I sometimes do when I have time and pace goals, because I have no control over the former and a lot of control over the latter. I have a goal 10K coming up on September 9, so I also went into this one hoping to save my legs for that one. I'd briefly considered trying to better my 2017 time, but after running an 8 mile tempo that was really rough on me on August 29 (details here), including inducing a little pull in my right hamstring, I decided holding back was a better option. My husband and I discussed the plan the night before: try to win while running as slow as possible.
The best laid plans, right? The race went like this:
Serious starting line debates with my friend
Daniel, who was the male overall winner
Mile 1 - As the field spread out after the gun, I positioned myself just behind the fastest women and sat there. The first 1.25 miles of the race is nearly all uphill, so I always go out slow, but she was slowing from what already felt very conservative, so at about 0.75 I threw the towel in on my plan and pulled into the first female position, moving along with a male who was passing. I looked at my watch when it beeped splits during this race because that felt right (I hadn't really thought about it beforehand), and mile 1 was 6:32. It was relaxed, but my main thought was, well, I really don't want to run over 40:00 so I'll just run the least it takes to be in the 39s, which would be in the low 6:20s from there on. I "knew" at that point that my time would be slower than the past 2 years, and I was fine with that because a win seemed pretty secure even that early, which always makes it easier to relax. The grade-adjusted pace of that mile was 6:14, so it wasn't as slow as the numbers showed, but it was slower than I'd gone out there previously.
Can you see why mile 1 is slow?
Mile 2 - I fell in step with a male and I could feel him speeding up. I thought, well, it's always easier to run with someone so even if he's a little faster than 6:20 it will be an easier effort than running solo the whole race. The next split was 6:14 and I felt like I was striding out better.
Mile 3 - I continued stride for stride with the male, and we were pulling in other men. I started to pull away a little towards mile 3, and encouraged him to come with me so he would move up in place, but he fell back and I was on my own. I felt like I was in a good place; putting in effort but still feeling really relaxed. Mile 3 was 6:08.
Mile 4 - I had to smile as I passed the halfway point, because typically in 10Ks I pass the 5K feeling like there is no way I can run that distance again at that pace (even though I always do so I know that feeling is a liar - it occurs in nearly every tempo too), but in this one it seemed like an easy task. I passed a couple of men and focused on the ones ahead of them. Mile 4 has a lot of uphill in it and in the past I've always slowed in that mile, so was prepared for that if effort stayed equal. When I saw my split of 6:10 I knew I was really having a good day. I then figured I could try to be under 39:00. In the past I've always been hurting pretty good at the mile 4 point of this race, but this year at every point I passed I kept thinking, "I feel so much better than every other time here", which is always encouraging!
Mile 5 - I felt like I was in a great rhythm and the effort was brisk but not dying (usually mile 5 of a 10K feels like dying). I was running alone but there were two men within striking range, so I decided I'd try to pull them in. That mile was 6:07. At that point I was thinking I'd be somewhere around my 2016 and 2017 times (38:43 and 38:19), which was good enough for me!
Mile 6 - At this point I decided I'd try to run under 6:00 for the final mile for fun. I passed one of the men I'd been chasing and kind of just felt like I was barreling in towards the finish. I didn't look at my watch during or at the end of this mile, but I just knew I was running sub-6:00 (I've finished a lot of tempo runs with the same "sub-6:00 for fun" idea, and although those are on flatter courses I have a pretty good sense for pace). The split was 5:56.
You can tell I'm not falling apart because my arm
swing form hasn't gone to crap like usual, haha!
Final stretch - I was gaining on the other man, so I decided I'd pretend he was a female and really try to pound it to catch him. When the clock came into view during my final sprint, I saw it was still in the 37s, and gauged that I could actually make it in under 38, which really surprised me. At that point it became just me and the clock, and I didn't even know if I beat the man or not until I looked at the photos Jon took (spoiler, I didn't). My last 0.15 on my Garmin was 5:06 pace. This course is certified, but my Garmin always reads it a little short, which the OCD in me dislikes but has also happened to me on several other certified courses (Rock the Parkway Half, Rock 'n' Roll Phoenix Half, White River Half, Phoenix Marathon). I'm not sure if I dislike it more when it reads short or long (yeah, I haven't gotten the newsflash that Garmins aren't perfect and like to think mine is, and it kind of was at CIM and Grandma's)!
Eyes on the clock
I'm pretty sure I lit up walking through the finish chute, thinking "what just happened?!". In 2017, I wanted to break 38 on this course and I wanted it to feel like less than an all-out effort (I was kind of demanding in 2017, hah). But that year I ran a 38:19 with all I had and was disappointed I didn't have more. I guess I accomplished my 2017 goal 1 year late! The slow first mile really threw me off on finish time expectations, but I'm glad it worked out how it did, because the pressure of a time goal may have changed the outcome. I was really excited about my course PR (also my 3rd fastest lifetime 10K), but I just couldn't get over how extremely smooth I felt doing it! Especially considering how not good I'd felt on my recent tempo run in similar weather. Race morning was 74* with a dew point of 70*.
Official results are here.
Garmin splits - course splits would
be a shade faster at 6:07 average
I love Strava's grade-adjusted pace feature
I love that this race does the big check photo prop at the awards! I also love how we combine it with a fun family weekend (many photos from that below), so this is a tradition I hope we can continue! There will come a time where I won't run a faster finishing time than the previous year, and I've also made peace with that.
I hope to be running when I'm in my 70s like
My progression for this race:
2018 - 37:55 and 1st overall female
2017 - 38:19 and 1st overall female, details here
2016 - 38:43 and 3rd overall female, details here
2015 - 40:22 and 3rd overall female (recovering from cryptosporidum so this one set the bar pretty low to start with)
Our traditional moms by the hotel pool selfie
Hotel pool = successful trip
Shel Silverstein wrote about this spot
Jon found a charging station for our Volt
Ice cream & Nickelodeon also make any
The Amazeum was pretty amazing
I'm not sure this was the safest children's' activity
Never stop exploring or believing!
No wasps this week.
Had my last session with Amanda on Thursday. Have to say I was disappointed that what we'd done hadn't made any difference. Not because PT isn't good for anything. I guess being 59 and recovering from surgery just takes more time than I'm comfortable with. No visible reduction in the swelling. Still the same level of pain and the same amount of limping. Gah. Apparently I still have months to go.
But, I'm done with the appointments for now. I have an extensive regimen of stretching and (hip) exercises to continue with to go along with my return to regular running. And by "regular" I mean "consistent", not what I'm used to or what I want to do. Good news (?) is that I'm only limited by pain. Weak hips are a documented culprit in many running injuries, so I suppose it makes sense that this is where we're focusing.
So, here's what's happening.
Strength (everything is 3 x 10)
Back, front and side hip extensions with resistance band.
Clamshells with resistance band.
Side steps with resistance band.
Single leg deadlifts with weight.
Fire hydrant with resistance band.
Single leg squat (rear foot on chair).
So many dang exercises. BORING!
But, either time is passing, or the boring exercises are doing their thing. Yesterday's run was OK.
Let's talk running for a second. I noticed that after PT the knee was feeling pretty good, so a couple of weeks ago I had Mrs. Dave or T-Rex drop me off and I'd run/jog/walk home the mile and a half from the rehab center. The first quarter to third of a mile, I'd still feel some pain, but it was on the low side and not in the surgery site. I'd have to walk a little every half mile or so, because I'm just so out of shape. Sucking wind is preferable to feeling a knee injury, though.
Last Monday I tried a few exercises and then a couple of miles on my own. Same result. Tuesday I asked Amanda about it and she agreed that if it didn't hurt more than not running, I could keep at it. So I did the same Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I ran home again after the last appointment. And Friday. And Saturday. If you weren't counting, that's six days in a row running. Each one was about the same. Knee hurt for the first 0.3-0.4 mile, I'd run out of steam at about a mile so walked 20-30 yards (and again after another half mile). But there didn't seem to be any lingering issues. No additional swelling, no more pain than normal. In fact, for the rest of the evening the knee would feel better than it had during the day. Next day would hurt, but no more than previously.
I complained about having no stamina and all the walking until Mrs. Dave reminded me that I've not been running really since February. Duh.
Yesterday was the first day I ran the entire 2 miles. Averaged 9:15 per mile. I even had enough energy to notice the weather (which was overcast and a cool 65 degrees, btw - runner heaven!), the lady walking her two dogs and the guy with the LeBron glasses.
The knee has felt better last two days than it has in a long time. Less pain and less limping, even after sitting at the desk for awhile. I consider it a serious step forward. No marathon plans yet, but just like a marathon, one step at a time.
Yesterday was better. I listened to a podcast that talked about sitting all day and biomechanics. It got me thinking even more that I want to blame my desk job for my injury issues. And also for my lackluster runs lately.
In any case, I am slowly building up to standing more frequently at work. Much like running, I risk doing more damage of doing too much, too soon. But I’m also anxious to get back to where standing 8 hours a day isn’t a big deal. It would be far easier if I were able to wander around, but I think that is just me wishing for something that I don’t really want.
Can’t I have all the physical aspects of retail back, but leave the pesky hours and people drama behind?
I’m happy that after my short walk and dynamic warm-up that I did feel a little better. I was a bit worried because it was run #4 in a row. Something I wasn’t even considering doing until 2016. I had been a 4 day a week runner until 2015 which meant usually I would have a rest day every other day or every second day. Rare was the time that I would run 3 times in a row.
It’s a balance, that’s for sure. I felt most confident when I was running 5 days a week and 6 seemed to nearing my breaking point. I think I could sustain 6 if I were training for a goal race AND I learned to actually run at a recovery pace.
I’m still trying to figure that one out. I am being forced by my own body to run in the mid-8s right now and it feels like a tempo pace much of the time. I’ve had a few days that it seems a little easier and it gives me hope.
The niggles of pain still creep up on me and sometimes I get scared when I feel my shin get angry or my foot is tender. Walking is mostly normal and I don’t give it a second thought much anymore, but I do have days that everything seems to be a bit tired and sore. As much as I want to feel healed and strong and ready to roll again, I still have so much more time to get through while that happens.
Which is a funny thing. This time. It’s often hurry up and wait. When I was in the boot, I couldn’t wait to get out of it. If I could just run, I would be so happy! And I was incredibly grateful for those first few runs. But now that I’ve settled back in to some degree, I’m restless to feel effortless. And maybe this is the reason we keep training, we keep signing up for races. We only remember the things that were good and block out a lot of what was bad.
I’m still trying to find joy in the journey. Yesterday, I came up over the bridge and was so happy that everything seemed to be working much better than the day before. My FF and FT were far happier and it just felt like a much easier effort. I noticed a big puffy white cloud in the sky and broke out into a grin.
I laughed at myself when I walked back to the car, sweat burning in my eyes because I couldn’t fathom the additional heat of a hat or buff. I so desperately wished it was cooler and then remembered how much I hate running with a headlamp.
A few short miles with the headlamp can be okay on a training run. Heck, even during a race, I seem to deal with is reasonable okay (maybe I’m blocking this out?). But longer training runs with a headlamp are awful. I think when I lose out on the scenery and the footing, I just would rather be a treadmill drone.
But winter is indeed coming. As it does every year. And I will be happy for six weeks when the sunlight is still enough in the evenings, but the temperatures (pretty please!) start to drop.
And I’m hoping that with the temperatures dropping, I will slowly start to feel stronger again. I’ve got a hefty race schedule over the next 9 months.
Augusta Relay 70.3 - 13.1 run leg on 9/23
Hinson Lake 24 - aka-try-to-not-be-a-dumbass on 9/29
New York City Marathon on 11/4
Rehoboth Beach Marathon on 12/8
A 50K+ in January or February 2019 (a requirement for GDR)
Georgia Death Race on 3/30/19
Boston Marathon on 4/15/19
Everest Marathon on 5/29/19
I’m both excited and nervous. I’m hoping that I make it to Everest feeling fit and ready and not injured and broken. Obviously Boston will be whatever it is. But I do want to continue my BQ streak and solidify a race time that gets me into 2020. The funny thing is that while I’d love to have a good, strong effort, I’d be thrilled to just have a chance to do it again. I’ve got a year to get it done.
Today marks one year since the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. I will be running the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic later this week, so thought I'd commemorate by re-sharing the report from the original since it was killed on the old site. If anyone else wants to participate, you're welcome to it. Run 8 (ish? whatever) miles on a treadmill and write about it. Do what you must to spice it up.
First, if Irma Gerd means nothing to you, please read this.
The schedule today called for 8 miles easy. The forecast today also called for wind, rain, downed trees, and all manner of apocalyptic blights on the Atlanta metro area thanks to Hurricane Tropical Storm Tropical Depression Irma. Does it still keep its name after it’s no longer a “storm”? Not sure, but now I’m going to have to look into this. Anyway, back to today’s 8 miles. This is my last really big 60+ mile week before Chicago and I didn’t want to start it off all screwed up on miles and workouts, so I was determined to get this one in.
Our forecast was for strong winds and rain starting early in the morning and intensifying until they peaked this evening. I thought about getting up and out early to beat the worst of the weather, but I had calls with overseas colleagues starting very early and realized this probably wasn’t going to happen. So then I decided to try and head out around lunch, but I got hungry and ate without thinking and didn’t have enough time to digest and run before my next call. Crap, I wasn’t going to get to run until the supposed peak of the bad weather. I checked the forecast and saw 20-30 mph winds and rain. So, basically what we had in Philly last year. I started getting ready to go when The Wife (we both worked from home today) looked at me with a raised eyebrow as if to say “and where do you think you’re going?”. And then she asked me where I thought I was going. She repeats herself a lot.
We argued for a little bit, then she put the news on and showed me all the downed power lines and trees and reminded me how bad Atlanta drivers are in foul weather. And they are bad, the slightest mist of a rain and all hell breaks loose on the roadways like a bunch of drunks staggering haphazardly out of a brewery fire. So I resigned myself to hitting the treadmill. It’s not that I hate the treadmill per se. It is a useful training tool, and I have done quite of bit of my marathon pace training runs on the ol’ mill to account for how flat Chicago is and Atlanta isn’t. Repetitive stress on the same muscle groups and all that physiological jazz. But the idea of doing a slow easy run on the treadmill was as unpleasant as the realization that Honey Boo Boo likely has a larger savings account than I do. Plus, the lights had been flickering all afternoon, and half of my colleagues in the city had already lost power. Atlanta loses power if a blue jay breaks wind in the wrong direction, so I knew it was only a matter of time until our lights went out. If I was going to get in 8 on the mill, I was going to have to hurry. And so, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was born.
You’re damn right I’m writing a bloop report about a treadmill training run. In anticipation of the fridge losing juice I started drinking the beer while it was still cold, and I got bored, so you’re getting this bloop. Nobody’s forcing you to read it. Go read about ass chafing if you want.
When I got to the gym, there were two bros taking turns seeing who could grunt and slam weights the loudest, and one girl on an elliptical. I hopped on, hit play on my ancient iPod Touch, waited for the screen to self lock (the manual screen lock button no longer works) and got started. The first song was Rock the Casbah, which was a bit high tempo for a slow warm-up mile but that was the hand fate had dealt me so I went with it. The legs were tired, but not too beat up after the Hansons twin 10er cut back weekend, and quickly found their rhythm. Elliptical girl stopped and started walking over to me which made me panic a bit, until I realized she was simply the only other person in our complex who actually wipes down the equipment and was merely going to the dispenser. Mile 1 - 9:22.
I was loose now and picked up the pace a bit. The gym bros were now done banging weights on the racks (not sure if either of them actually ever did a set or not) and it was time for one of them to do cardio. He ignored the two open treadmills and chose the one right next to me, then craned his neck over so far to see my screen he dripped sweat on my handrail. I offered him a towel, which he declined with a scoff. He then set his machine at what would be a walking pace for even a Galapagos Tortoise and started to, well I think he was trying to run, but jump up with one foot and land on the other, crashing his massive bulk onto the belt with such force my machine shook. And he was still craning over to see my screen. After about a minute of this awkward crashing skipping and staring at my screen he upped his pace to 6.8 mph where I was, stumbled through it for 30 seconds while I pictured him shooting off the back like the rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, then stood on the railing for 5 minutes drinking his protein shake and stretching before calling it a day without wiping the machine. I used the perfect beat of INXS’ Devil Inside to focus on my cadence and tried not to laugh lest he squah my skull like a grape. Miles 2 and 3 8:49 and 8:49, and the legs felt positively light.
Then one of my all time favorite regulars came into the gym. She jogs to the gym from her apartment every day, hops up on a treadmill, starts it, and stands on the rails while texting for a solid 2-3 minutes. Then she will run for 30-45 seconds, then back on the railings with the belt still running while she does an elaborate stretching routine. And I do mean elaborate, through the course of it her legs will go up onto the screen, then over the handrails, and even out the bottom almost tripping me over on my treadmill. Then 30 seconds more of running, then the stretching thing. Sometimes she’ll get off the 'mill and do a plank or pushups. The Wife and I call her Stretchy Magoo. She usually has the mill run for 3 miles or so, of which she runs maybe an 800, before jogging back to her apartment without wiping the machine. I enjoyed the Ramones' Beat on the Brat and George Harrison’s 1987 hit Got My Mind Set On You on this stretch, and miles 4 and 5 passed in 8:49 and 8:49.
By this point, I was starting to feel a little of the marathon fatigue in the legs, the freshness passing as quickly as it had arrived. So I was thrilled when Black Betty was followed by Jump Around on the iPod. The first has a nice driving guitar riff to keep the turnover up, and the second is my all time party jam. I do a truly awful karaoke rendition of this song after tequila shots which I first discovered way back in the eighth grade at a graduation party. Except back then it was a half shot of tequila we stole from Kristen Phillips’ parents’ liquor cabinet and the song was on Top 40 stations, not Oldies ones. Either way, these powered me through mile 6 in a surprisingly quick 8:49.
A new treadmill neighbor showed up and my playlist luck continued with Going the Distance off the Rocky soundtrack, and then Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison, not Van Halen). I was singing the latter quietly to myself (the former is an instrumental, so not sure why I felt compelled to clarify that) as it’s another frequent karaoke mistake. When I did the little throaty growl Ol’ Roy does, my treadmill neighbor must have heard it because she immediately jerked her head to look at me with an expression of pure horror on her face. I turned to meet her stare, and when I realized she heard me growl without context, I burst into laughter. She didn’t get the joke, and immediately packed up and left without wiping the machine. Mile 7 passed in another 8:49.
The distractions and upbeat musical accompaniment had reenergized the legs, and I coasted through the last mile to the strains of Sam the Sham Pharaohs and one of the most ridiculously idiotic and enjoyable songs ever written. I mean, is he counting down in English or Spanish? I don’t care but be consistent man, it’s just sloppy. And Pharaohs didn’t speak Spanish anyway. And the only lyrics I can really make out are Hatty and Matty doing something. Between the historical inaccuracies, language mixing, and lousy uncreative rhyming this song is an indictment of the US education system if I ever saw one. It’s catchy as hell though, and I rode it through the end of mile 8 in 8:49. The treadmill said 8 miles, the Garmin said 8.42, but all I cared about was that I got in the run without so much as a flicker of the lights.
And thus, the Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic was complete. Can’t wait for the 2nd Annual Inaugural Irma Gerd 8 Mile Classic. And I even still have power, so I can post this asinine bloop about running on a treadmill. What a time to be alive.