I am a big fan of running while on vacation! I always see sights I wouldn't see otherwise, and I enjoy staying in my training groove. I've learned a lot about how to make outdoor vacation running happen through trial and error, so I thought I'd share the strategies that have helped me...because not every trip can be a race trip, right??
I would have missed this if I hadn't run on vacation!
Look at a map of your area. I simply pull up the map app on my phone and look around my current location. I've done this enough that I can typically determine a pretty accurate route from that map alone; for one run on my last vacation I eyeballed a loop I thought would be 4 miles, and it ended up measuring 4.1 miles (I was going to run it 3 times for a 12 miler, but then I found other places to explore, illustrating the importance of being open-minded)! Look for:
Rivers and lakes. There are often running trails that run along rivers and lakes, and you won't always find them online. Find an easy way to get from your hotel to the water, and you'll often find great running paths once you get there! I found a great path by doing this on our Niagara Falls vacation.
Parks. Every park is going to have at minimum sidewalks around it. Some parks are tiny and not of much help, but you can gauge that from the map.
Roads leading out of town. When road tripping, we often stay in smaller towns along the way, and in the Midwest I can simply run out of town onto country roads. I did this several times on our Niagara Falls vacation, our Minnesota/Canada vacation, and our Yellowstone vacation.
In town major roads. If there are no great options for routes, running alongside a major road in town is often a good bet. There are almost always sidewalks you can run on, and since you're running parallel to most of the traffic flow you won't have to stop for cars (cars coming off of side streets will generally have stop signs or lights, so will have to yield for you). I did a lot of this on our Orlando vacation. If you are at a big attraction like Disney, another option is running around the theme park parking lots, but we didn't stay on site so I didn't do this.
Highways, so you can avoid running on them and crossing them.
Ask at the front desk of your hotel. Sometimes you'll get great advice on a nice running route; other times they will direct you to a park with a loop that ends up being a quarter mile; others they will look at you like you're crazy. At minimum they can usually tell you the safest direction to go.
Just run and you'll find something. My husband always says that I'd run 10 miles around the hotel parking lot if I had to, which is not untrue. Sometimes I just start running and see where it takes me, and I always find something. Out and back courses are your best friend in this scenario! I only run simple loops if I've verified them on a map beforehand.
Run early. Every route is easier to navigate at 5:00-6:30 a.m., and you won't have to deal with nearly as much traffic. Running later in any city is just asking for a lot of stop/starting.
Run with your phone. I loathe running with my phone, but for safety I always take it when I'm running in unfamiliar areas. It's also helpful if you get lost; I had to use it in Chicago once for this reason!
Pack breakfasts and electrolytes. If you're traveling with a group and you're the only runner, you might be running while others in your party go to the hotel breakfast; or the rest of your group may eat McDonalds for breakfast nearly every day (this was the case on our Niagara Falls trip). I always pack oatmeal, protein powder, fruit, raisins, and nuts, and can always put together a nice breakfast out of this (you can heat water in your hotel coffee maker if needed). Many vacations also entail sweating a lot, so I am extra vigilant about drinking water with nuun after running.
Adjust pace expectations. Remember that stress is stress and energy expenditure is energy expenditure. Your body doesn't distinguish between training stress and other stress, and vacation can be draining! Don't worry about slowing down your pace as needed. Every day is different, and I haven't really found a clear pattern for myself regarding fast vs. slow vacation runs, but more are the latter and I don't put pressure on myself to perform the same as I would at home. That's what the other 50 weeks of the year are for!
Fit things in where you can. It's amazing how much you can do if you're creative about it. I fit in about 90 minutes of strength work on my last vacation, nearly exclusively during road trip rest stops and while waiting for others in our group at the hotel. Another technique that's helpful is when your group goes to a sit down meal, tell someone else your order and go run while everyone gets seated, gets drinks, orders, and waits for their food. You can easily run for 30 minutes then change while this is occurring, and then sit down to refuel!
Running on vacation may not be for everyone, but it is for me!
You can read related posts here:
Running on vacation in general
Our 2018 trip to Niagara Falls and what I ran during it
Our 2018 Minnesota and Canada vacation, and what I ran during it
A briefer mention of our post-CIM 2017 California vacation
Why being an endurance athlete is helpful on a Disney vacation
Disney vacation part 1, with runs detailed
Disney vacation part 2, with runs detailed
Disney vacation part 3, with runs detailed
Disney vacation part 4, with runs detailed
Our 2016 Yellowstone vacation, and what I ran during it
Week one of marathon training is complete! It was such a great week and felt amazing to be back at it again. I have so much motivation and I just hope it keeps going. I do get to train in my most favorite season, for my new most favorite race, so I feel like I’m set up for success!
Monday: My buddy Kelli is a kickboxing instructor at the new wellness center on campus so I decided to join in on the class she was teaching. I am one of those tall, uncoordinated girls and I usually don’t like classes like that. Luckily, it wasn’t one that involved a step so I didn’t do too bad! It was a good workout, I got my sweat on, and was sore in my shoulders the next day!
Tuesday: Track Tuesday! I hadn’t ran on the track in many months so I knew it was going to hurt. The plan was 8x400s @ 1:45 with a mile WU and CD. I ran a warm-up mile to the local high school track and realized I wasn’t quite sure which button on my Garmin 230 was the lap button. I knew the white button started and stopped the time but for some reason I pressed that anyway when I started the first 400. I quickly restarted it and then figured it out, so my first 400 is a little off. I only hit the target time a couple times and it certainly felt like my first in a while speed workout. Ouch. It wasn’t all that pretty but it still felt great and like it was progress made!
Wednesday: I got up early and made it to Yoga Flow at the new wellness center! I normally do not like yoga that isn’t hot yoga but I surprisingly liked this. I’m still stiff as a board but it didn’t feel too bad. I did, however, forget to bring a bra and underwear so William had to bring them to me! Doh! Luckily, he hadn’t left the house and goes right by the gym to get to work!
Thursday: Tempo day! Ok, running fast is hard these days and I do NOT know how to pace myself. I woke up not feeling excited about running 8:30/mi, even for just three miles. I thought, I have the half on Saturday and I really don’t want to be sore for it. I could just run five miles instead, or I could just try for a slower pace. I don’t know if I could even keep that pace for three miles… Blah, blah, blah. Well, how the hell does anyone know what they can do until they try? Chris, will you ever learn that lesson and quit sandbagging yourself?! Not likely. Sandbagging is better than tea-bagging though, right? HAHA!!
ANYWHO, when I got out the door, I said fuck it and decided to go for the 8:30/mi. I did a warm-up mile and then picked it up when my watched chimed for a mile. I was going to do 1.5 miles out and then back. I had no idea how fast to go for 8:30/mi so I just ran. When the first tempo mile chimed 7:59, I was like whoa! It certainly felt hard but I didn’t think I was running THAT fast. I decided to just keep going and see how long I could hold it. The second mile was 8:06, and I definitely lost some steam after that because the third mile was 8:22. I finished it up with a cool-down mile. It felt hard but good and I’m glad I pushed it. (Writing this part on Friday – I’m not sore at all!)
Friday: I was supposed to cross train but I didn’t and I’m OK with that. I knew I was going to try to run fast for the half on Saturday so I enjoyed the extra rest day. I actually had a couple beers at Crazy Mountain Brewery.
Saturday: Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon and Kelli AND Haleigh’s birthdays! You’ll have to wait for a separate race report to find out what happened (unless you follow me on Strava or social media and already know!).
Sunday: REST DAY. This included a lot of napping and a dip in the hot tub.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the GtIS RR!
Isn’t it great when non-runners look at you crazy for being excited to run? We pretend to be annoyed by their silly comments.
I don’t even like to drive that far!
I only run when something is chasing me!
I run… to the refrigerator!
Everyone laughs and then we go on about our respective lives. But I imagine that most runners secretly hold in the pride they feel when they hear such things.
Pride because of the joy it brings us. Pride because of the sense of accomplishment we feel. Pride because of how it influences us to make better decisions in other areas of our lives (usually).
We wonder if they are envious of our physical abilities or do they actually think we are certifiably nuts?
I had this notion a few years ago that I was never going to run a 100 mile race. That just seemed, well, ludicrous! My body was just not the type that could manage to finish something like that, let alone train.
Yet, here we are.
And the more I listen to stories of people accomplishing amazing things in running, the more I believe that it really is possible to do things we never thought we’d do.
I have been lucky to follow the journeys of so many fantastic runners. We won’t always get faster and we may not always run further, but challenging ourselves is what (in my opinion) sets us apart from the hobby joggers.
I have no big races to report on. No big workouts to share. Assuming I’m playing the comparison game of course. Comparing to other runners. Comparing to 2017 Carissa.
But I just completed a huge workout! 4 miles in the rain. I was thinking about my metatarsal and my tibia probably 80% of the run. Worrying if my gait was okay. Worrying if my cadence was okay. In a constant flux of am I doing enough or too much?
And it may seem silly to say in the midst of all this worrying that I was somehow also really, really happy.
It was humid and drizzling after a thunderstorm rolled through. I almost drove home, but decided very last minute to stop at the track. The high school football team was pouring from the main building to the stadium and I almost bailed at the thought of sharing the space when them.
But they were getting in their $50,000 cars and driving home, leaving me to the track by myself. I laughed a bit thinking how perfect the conditions were if I were at the top of my game. But why couldn’t I appreciate it while coming back?
So I fired up my Spotify “Comeback” playlist and laced up my new shoes labeled “Nike Pegasus Turbo The Comeback Shoe” and walked 400 meters before I started to run.
You know how a summer rain run almost feels like you getting away with something? Like it’s a crazy little secret that’s yours. And you don’t want to tell too many people how awesome it is because what makes it great is that you usually have the running space to yourself?
Yeah, so I’m acutely aware of the possibility that someone might see the shit-eating grin on my face as I shuffle around and around. There are the moments that I’m able to forget. I get lost in my thoughts briefly and when I’m jolted back to reality, I’m almost angry that I slipped back to consciousness. Because those lost-in-my-thoughts moments are great on any run, but they are especially great when all I can think about is my stupid injury.
The rain picks up a bit and I look around the empty field, not at all surprised that I’m the only person in my vantage point.
And I’m kind of happy that no one is in on my little secret today. At some point, I realized running circles in the humid rain alone might sound awful. But I’m lucky I’ve returned to my happy place.
I think I've been able to stay pretty upbeat about being on the shelf for almost six months now. Until now.
Over the weekend we had all the kids and grandkids at the house. That doesn't represent a huge crowd, since there's just the four of them plus the three grands. We went to a Tigers game, spent time at the lake, played games. Should have been a great time.
I'm not really saying it wasn't, but I spent too much time thinking about how my stomach looks like Carrie Underwood's right now. And it feels even bigger.
Went to PT yesterday. Gave them the rundown of everything that's happened since last time I was there, wasting everyone's time so Blue Cross would approve an MRI. He worked some around the knee and taped up the ACL. It hurts today.
There you go.
Yay, it's 2016!
More about that later, in this Race Report on the Cypress Run 5K.
I'm an old dude, so this bloop is not going to help anybody learn to run faster. However, it might serve as a data point in the endless flow of data we sift through, in trying to answer the question, "What the hell is going on!?!?"
I was out with serious illness, and invasive treatment for the last half of 2017. Before that, I was able to run a 10K in 52:35, for a pace of 8:27. The Age-Performance grade is 63.94%. I also ran a 5K earlier in the year in 25:35. That's an Age-Performance grade of 62.07%. I was happy with my progress as a runner, but I didn't really feel like I deserved an attaboy until I reached 70%. My longest training run was 10 miles.
In mid-January of this year, I started running again. I had hoped that my legs and lungs would still hold some of that strength from the first half of 2017, but I wasn't quite feeling it. So, I went back to the beginning, and started with Week 1 of the Couch 2 5K program. I would try to ramp up the miles and speed as quickly as possible. I would use the Galloway approach, and walk for 60 seconds every half mile, to protect myself from injury. Maybe, I could leapfrog over the weeks, or jump to an Intermediate program, if the training went well.
I was shocked and dismayed to find that starting back at the beginning seemed to suit me. Can you really lose that much in just 6 months of illness?
In April, the Donate Life 5K came up, and I decided to run it with my daughter (the subject of a previous bloop). I hadn't quite finished the Couch 2 5K program yet, and I didn't seem to be getting up to any speed with it. So, I wasn't ready yet for the 5K race, but we both believe in the cause of this race, so we did it. I ran it in 34:37.
Yikes! My first 5K ever was in 2016 (Donate Life), and I ran it in 30:08. Had my body actually regressed more than two years....back to 2015? Or worse?
That was a shock. Then, I experienced more frustration in training runs. I think my legs were happy to get out there again. And my lungs seemed fine. But I just felt tired. I didn't feel the lactic acid effect in my legs. My lungs never burned. I just seemed to get tired. And my training times were terrible. I couldn't break 10 minutes per mile, and rarely came close. I remember the woman on the Loop who knew what everyone's race pace should be, and her advice to new runners, "Slow the !#?%!@#! down!" I was at peace with that. But, one of the wonderful moments in training comes when you accidentally peel off a great time. Nope. Wasn't happening.
I had moved on to the Intermediate 5K training program. It felt burdensome. Then, I failed on a 5-mile fartlek. No lactic acid, really. No burning lungs. Just tired. And I stopped, and walked two miles back to my home. It sure felt like defeat.
So, I decided I'd switch over to the Beginners 10K training program. 5 days of running, not 6.
In the meantime, I wanted to run another 5K to verify that I was truly at pre-2016 levels. I chose the Cypress Run 5K.
In seeking another way to answer my question, I ran a fast mile a week before the race. I did break 10 minutes. But the calculator predicted a 5K time of 34 minutes. Jeez!
I arrived at the Cypress race hoping to at least get into 31 minutes. It was a fun event. Well-organized. I ran it with both my son and daughter, and had a great time.
I decided at the last minute to run it without stopping. My legs actually seemed grateful to just keep pumping away. I felt good and strong through the first two miles. In the third mile, there was at least one episode of 'bouncing,' which looks like you're running, sorta-kinda, but you're sure not moving forward much. I needed to catch my breath with bouncing for about 60 seconds.
My son took off at the two-mile mark, and disappeared. My daughter and I kicked it a bit in the last .1 mile, and passed two people on the way to the finish line. A nice surprise to have some energy left.
My time? 29:47. Yes, I was at least back to 2016!
I had not trusted my training. I forgot the magic power of a taper week. And there's the weird, fun energy you get from running with a bunch of people.
I feel like I'm back in the ballgame now. I'll just have to be patient in getting back to 2017. I'm not good at patience, but maybe I'm supposed to learn.
Running is mental.
I made a FBF post on my WordPress blog last week but didn't get it posted here in time. I can't post something meant for Friday, not on a Friday. You can read it here.
This installment is a great attest to how much fun my best friend, Erin, and I use to have. We’ve only been able to see each other a handful of times since I moved to Colorado. However, she just moved to Arizona so I think I might be able to see her a little more often! I sure do miss running and having fun with her. She even came out to CO for my wedding in 2014!
The Adventures of Chris and Erin 7/21/11
It never fails that an adventure develops during Erin and I’s road trips. Whether the trip is small or large, something always happens that leaves us thinking and saying…. WTF? Yesterday was no exception.
If you read my Nashville Country Music Marathon road trip blog, we took an hour detour to find multiple froyos that we never found. I’ll come back to that point later. We had planned to drive to William B. Umstead State Park 1.5 hrs away from our location. This park has some great trails to run on and we needed to practice on some for our upcoming [NFEC Georgia] 50K. I drove so Erin was navigating and put in Umstead Park in her GPS. I’d been there a couple times and knew which way to head but the GPS was taking us a different route. Maybe it knows a quicker way. The closer we got, I began to wonder where the hell we were going. It was leading us to Chapel Hill and Umstead is in Raleigh. Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham make up the “Triangle” and they are all close together, so I just thought it was taking us a different way. Once we were downtown Chapel Hill and looking at UNC Chapel Hill, I knew we were lost. I guess there is another Umstead Park; we had to drive 20 more minutes to get to our location.
We finally get there and it’s already 11am and 95°; good thing we both were running in our slutties (aka super short running shorts)! I forgot to get my Camelbak so I used two hand held bottles. (I use to run with a Camelbak, ugh!) We were going to make a loop so I’d ditch one of the bottles for when we came back around. The plan was to run 10 so we headed off. There was lots of shade so we weren’t out in the sun for too long. The trails were beautiful and pretty technical is some spots. We had lots of little bridges to cross and roots to maneuver through. With lots of switchbacks, we wondered if the trail would ever end; I love trails but they make the miles seem much longer. After an hour, I took two salt tabs (really? for 10 miles?) and ate a pack of Honey Stingers. The other water bottle I ditched had diluted Gatorade so I chugged some of that. (You’d think I was running an ultra…)
We were getting back to where my car was parked, but we still needed two more miles. We were going to pass the car, go down a mile, and turn around. I started having stomach cramps as soon as we got past the car. I’m guessing I took in too many electrolytes at one time. (Ya think?!) My tummy has been sensitive in the past so it wasn’t a surprise. We had to stop and walk a couple times because it was hurting so bad; I even had to bend over a couple times to make the cramps stop. We didn’t make it down a mile and decided to turn around – it just wasn’t going to happen.
We’d assumed there would be showers in the park we could use, but they turned out to only be for campers. Crap! What now?? We still had plans to go shop for trail shoes. We thought about being rebels and use the showers anyway but didn’t want to get ticketed by the Park Rangers. We found a bathroom that had a couple big sinks. Let’s do it! Yep, we showered in the sinks. As I was sitting up on the counter with my feet in the sink, another girl walks in. Erin and I get really quiet and then busted out laughing when she left! Let me tell you, sink showers take forever! We were in there almost an hour! I still felt pretty gross afterwards b/c we had been drenched with sweat. I was still having GI issues at this point and just felt like crap. It was time for FOOD!
I’ll tell the last part in bullets or this will go on forever:
REI’s in store shoe selection SUCKS! Didn’t find anything!
Walked to Dick’s Sporting Goods down the road and it down poured just as we were leaving the building
FINALLY GOT SOME DANG FROYO!!! (Froyo/Ice Cream is serious in our world)
Hit Raleigh rush hour traffic
On the way home, decided to make a detour to outlet malls* close by
A torrential downpour and storm starts while we are in the Nike store
Run from Nike to the Merrell store and almost get taken away by wind/rain
Decided to call it quits and head home after two stores
We were gone from 9am-8pm!!!!
* The last time we were at these outlet malls is when NC had major tornado damage in the area. We were dodging tornadoes on the way home!!! Luckily, this time it was only thunderstorms.
So there you have it folks.
Another adventure in the lives of Chris and Erin!
Years ago on Loopville, someone (I think it was Corc) posted a link to an article written by Lauren Fleshman. It was about the difference between male and female runners/athletes and accepting that difference.
I thought of that article again this weekend. Read it here! https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20793927/i-run-like-a-girl/ It's not just insightful and interesting, it's hilarious. Seriously. Stop reading my bloop right now and go read it and then come back (or not).
And I remembered that article and looked it up because I ran my worst 5k in four years, and instead of pacing my RB- who is male and who was running his first 5k- as planned, I got paced by him. And vastly outrun. HIS FIRST.
But it was still a great evening, for so many reasons.
As much as I prefer morning races, I also work almost every Saturday from 8:30-1, so I miss out on most local 5ks/10ks. The Chase is a small, local 5k that benefits the XC program of a local school and draws out most of the runners here in little Harborcreek. And it's on a Friday night. I love this race because there are so many people I know who show up to run it, either local runners I’m already connected to or customers at the bank here in town where I work. Every 10 feet I was stopping and talking to people… Rod, Jim, Karen, another Karen, Desiree, Dan from Erie and his best friend also named Dan, from Buffalo, Bill who I see at the bank, the RDs husband who is also a bank customer, Juliann, Christina, Tom, Andrew… seriously, I know half the field here!
And my baby girl was running it, too! Unlike last summer, when Jules and I trained 2-3 times a week, training for her kinda fell by the wayside this season. Mostly because I was not feeling running all that much, thus it was hard to translate joy for it to my kiddo. And also because she was playing soccer all season and doing quite a bit running even though it wasn’t specific run-training. About 5 days before the race, she decided that, yes, she wants to run it! We did two 2 mile runs in which she ran between 10:00 and 10:30 pace and I figured hey, if she can run 2 miles she can run 3, right?
My RB C. -remember him from that 10k RR early this year- was also running the 5k, his first. Now, C. has been busy with work and coaching our church softball team (which my husband is on) and being a single parent and hasn’t been able to run much. Like, once or twice a week. I haven’t been running much but I’ve been running a little more than that. And I ran a marathon just—oh crap, that was 2 months ago already? Okay, forget all the training benefits of that. Anyway, I’ve been running more than him. I should be faster. So I’ll pace him, right? That takes the pressure off me to have to race it, and it’ll be more fun pacing anyway. RIGHT???!!
It’ll be more fun, she says. 🤣
Jules was raring to go 45 minutes before the race and completely confident of her ability to run this whole race without stopping. Despite having run very little lately (besides soccer), thus being the least 5k-trained of the three of us. Man, I need that kind of untroubled audacity. Hakuna matata all the way.
Meanwhile, C. is old- almost 40- which means he needs to stretch.
Now, there’s stretching. You know, normal, light, easy stretching......
And then there’s like, 'oh, wait, I have to do a 20 minute yoga session before I run' stretching.
I made fun of him, which the karma gods duly noted.
Pre-race pics for Jules and I when all the stretching was FINALLY done.
We lined up to start. I’m completely out of sight in the start photo, but C. is there. Jules is out of sight beside me instead of lining up with all the kids. There were a LOT of kids there, which is always a great thing to see.
This race is not a fast course. The first mile is uphill. The second mile is mostly flat but includes a bunch of wooded trail. The third mile is a mix of said trail plus about .5 mile of downhill pavement back to the finish. It’s easy to blow up climbing in the first mile and ruin everything, but it’s nice to have that downhill finish to redeem yourself a smidge, if redemption is something you need (spoiler alert: I did).
We hadn’t even gotten close to the top of the hill, maybe .75 mile in before I realized two things. 1) I felt like crap. Not just normal 5k pain crap, but absolute crap from head to toe. My stomach was roiling, my legs felt dead and heavy and my breathing was ragged. 2) C. was pulling away from me, trotting easily as if he ran 5ks every day instead of this being his first one, his bright yellow shirt like a beacon ahead of me. WTH????!!
Somewhere in mile 2, I realized that I was struggling to stay under 8:00 minute pace. WHAT? This is absurd. I have run how many 5ks now, and much faster than this, and I feel like I'm being strangled?
About the time I realized that my race was going to be awful, C. started yelling encouragement. Which helped a lot... I was grateful, because I was falling apart in the worst way. But the pacer had become the pacee. Beginner pacing coach.
Again. WHUT? 😧
And for the rest of the race, C. was ahead of me and pulling away, holding back while yelling at me to stay with him. Which I could not do. Once I considered stopping to puke because I felt like doing so almost the entire race, but that would take like, a good half minute off my time, soooo… I basically huffed and puffed and agonized my way to the finish. When we got to the final .2, C. started putting on the gas. I tried my best to kick into my usual high-gear finish, but nope. I yelled at him to go. Go, go, go! He sprinted toward the clock, coming in at 23:10. And I finished 10 seconds later, feeling and looking like death, and all I could think was “He could have run a 22:30, easily!”
I dry-heaved along the side for a little until my stomach eased up on the queasiness. C. came over to lend support and I demanded of him why he didn’t just go and LEAVE my sorry ass?! He kept saying, no, no, no, that’s not what this race was about, he’s fine with it. Okay, well, your coach demands that in the future, you will run a 5k all out to see what you can do. Oh, and you are faster than me now, congrats! A part of me was like, wow, that was fast... going from a non-runner to this in what, 6-7 months? But I was and am so proud that none of it mattered an iota. Well, besides the iota that it took to admit that he's faster than me now. Which was maybe a little more than an iota... So okay, it mattered a little that he was faster than me but he worked for and deserves it and I am proud as punch.
I still don't know what went wrong. Not having trained for a 5k (all marathon training stuff this past winter and spring)? Worked and was on my feet all day (a night race versus a morning race)? Heat and humidity? Or just woefully out of shape physically and mentally? Idk. Whatever it was, it's a time I'm happy to put behind me. My slowest 5k since early 2014 when I was coming back from injury, a minute slower than last year on this course, and nearly 2 minutes slower than my PR. But hey… I ran it. It sucked but I did it.
JULES!!! What drove my own race out of my mind was the thought of my little girl out there running. I hurried back up the course to find her. The whole time I was worrying... she hadn't trained for this, and without me there to encourage her and run with her, would she fall apart and walk (she'd wanted to not walk at ALL!) and then cry and be heartbroken and beat up on herself? Because she tends to beat up on herself when she doesn't do well, we have no idea where the heck she inherited THAT mysterious trait. Or the crying.......
Before I even got as far back on the course as I expected or wanted to, less than 2 tenths of a mile, here comes Juliet, charging along with her face red with determination, her stride still strong and beautiful. My heart got all the fuzzy feelings, seeing my little offspring running like a champ. She spied me and broke out in a huge grin, shouting at me, ‘MOM! MOM! I DIDN’T STOP ONCE AND I PASSED 8 PEOPLE!!!” I had told her beforehand to pick people off, and she told me she wants to see how many people she can pass.
Ah, she’s a fierce little thing!
I started running with her, slightly ahead, encouraging her.
I told her we’re gonna kick it to the end, so I led out in front of her. She gave it a massive kick at the end, and we did the final .1 mile at an 8:14 pace. I let her go through the chute by herself, and she was flying!
Final time: 31:18. 10:04 pace. And a 10-second PR over last year on this course, which I did not expect given so little training! Juliet was so excited and I was so proud. Her 3rd 5k… and she wants to do more this fall. I have a flat, fast October 5k all lined up for her. She wants to break 30 minutes, which I think is entirely possible with a little training and on a faster course.
The first thing Jules wanted to do was eat! What the heck?! My stomach was still revolting, and she’s sitting there inhaling 2 pieces of pizza and a donut with sprinkles. Though I normally love this race for the pizza and watermelon, I could not stomach it today. No food for me.
The sting from a bad race was quickly assuaged by getting my 3rd place OA female (despite the sucky time) medal and Jules missed an AG win by just one place, since she got lumped into the 10-and-under group... but she was so thrilled with her time and having run the whole race by herself without stopping that she didn't mind. And C!! Seeing him get his 2ND in AG medal—his first award, in his FIRST 5K was amazing. Even though I know full well that he could have finished with a faster time, I am incredibly proud of how far he's come as a runner. And he was a true friend, helping me get through a tough race when he DIDN'T HAVE TO AT ALL.
We gotta get pics, of course.
Then C. and I took Jules back home to get put to bed by my DH, along with the other kiddo. Then we swung by Karen’s house for an hour or two of chitchat, snacks, and drinks at her annual post-race party. Since I had to work the next morning (BOOOOO) we didn’t stay around too long, but it’s always wonderful to catch up with everyone. Even if the race itself was pretty much a bust, good friends can make up for it.
As for being soundly beaten by my protégé, hey, if a pro like Lauren Fleshman can see the beauty in getting beaten by boys, so can a mortal like myself?
Plus, I'm a long-distance runner and C. is better at shorter distances and we have that half-marathon coming up... 🤨
I’m marathon training!
Wow! I can’t believe I’m already talking about the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon again! It has turned into one of my favorite races because I get to hang out with a bunch of you lovely folks! For the past two years, I’ve run the 13.1 at Rehoboth and thought I’d change it up this time! Most everyone usually runs the halfso that they can get plenty of drinking in after they finish, but I’ve had my fair share of that! Plus, I love the course and want to see what the full one looks like!
Oh, you want to see the course profile? Check this baby out!
For this five year (!) Colorado transplant, this is fucking beautiful! It barely blips above sea-level! Hell, I’m even shooting for a PR! My current PR is from the VA Beach Shamrock Marathon (LOVE) which is 3:53:08. I will be ecstatic if I even get 3:53:07 because that PR was set in 2012, which shortly followed the most badass running year I’ve ever had (2011). However, I’m hoping to crush it a bit. That PR was set without proper training – proper meaning following through with a whole training plan.
I have never EVER followed a training plan all the way through and I really hope to do that this time. I realize I also have an ENORMOUS, very different, very important goal (Denali, duh) that I’m training for, but I will never stop running or wanting to race.
I’m only running three days a week! I’m going for the less-is-more strategy and I think it’s the best strategy for me.
Tuesday – will alternate each week between a track workout or hill repeats
Thursday – TEMPO!
Saturday – Long run
Sunday – REST
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be cross-training days and I’ll be taking advantage of the amazing new wellness center that was built on campus! It is three stories and includes: a lap pool, 45′ climbing wall and bouldering wall, three class studios (classes included in membership), nap rooms, outdoor equipment rental (even paddleboards!), a bike repair shop, lots of showers (with GREAT and even adjustable water pressure), and is a short walk from my office! AHHHH! AND since I was going to the school when they decided to start building the center, and I was paying student fees for a gym that I never activated, I have a retroactive membership that’s paid for until March 2020!! Hell to tha yeah!
This week was my first week of training but I’ll report on that on Monday (since I’m not done yet!). I actually have a half marathon on Saturday! YAY! It’s one of my local favorites: Georgetown to Idaho Springs AND I’m running it with my bud Kelli AND it’s her 30th birthday! Let the 30th birthday party shenanigans begin! I’ll have a race report, as always! It should be a fun one!
Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
I’ve been stuck and unhappy for a long time. I love my coworkers, but not my job. It’s boring and pretty much a dead end. It doesn’t pay well (money isn’t everything, but it would sure be nice not to worry if I’ll be able to pay rent/car/food/etc. every month. My running is my outlet, but even that had gotten to be routine and I wasn’t really getting anywhere. My personal life was (and still is) lonely. I’ve always been an introvert and not a social butterfly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get lonesome. That’s the bad, but this isn’t a bloop to complain. I’ve know I need to do something different, but I haven’t even known where to begin. A couple years ago I looked into becoming a registered dietitian but because I graduated more than 10 years ago I would have to retake a bunch of undergrad classes and even if that wasn’t an issue I’d have to go without a full time job (because classes were only available full time) for 2 years at least and probably 3. Not possible. Then I heard an ad for a Master’s Degree in nutrition. While not a RD it would still open up a whole new area of employment that would be a lot more interesting. Could I make it work? Can I?
I’m doing it. I start my first classes next month. I’m excited. It’s going to be so interesting and I’m excited to start. I’m a little “scared” too. I’m already busy. How will I fit it in? I haven’t started yet, so I don’t know how, but I will make it work. Some stuff may get cut. Loop time is already pretty low – right now I’m multitasking by writing this at the dealership while the oil gets changed in my car. Almost everyone in the program is also working full time. It’s online, but also a real physical school in the area that has a good reputation. (not worried about it being a scam) I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was. I’m nervous, but I’m really happy about this. I feel myself finally moving forward. Which is scary, but scary like a roller coaster. I know this is something good.
I haven’t and won’t leave running behind. I already run in the early morning hours at a time I’d sleep or not do much besides eat breakfast if I wasn’t running. I’m also doing something in running that scares me – Trails! I’ve always been afraid of trails because I’m clumsy. I don’t fall a lot on smooth sidewalks but running over roots and rocks always seemed like more than I wanted to tackle. But now I’m doing it. I am so slow at it! I’ve fallen a bunch of times already and (mildly) sprained my ankle. The little trail I’ve been running is such a nice change of pace. Except for the spiderwebs. Those aren’t so nice. I’ve tried the stick method, but it doesn’t work very well. There is a new scary goal behind this – I’m running a trail half marathon this fall! I suppose it might have been smarter to start with a shorter trail race closer to home, but this half is near where I went to college and I can stay with (and maybe run with) an old friend. I can’t believe I’m doing this either. But my running had gotten stagnant too. No time like the present to try a new challenge, right? A less scary running challenge is to continue to pursue a sub 4:30 marathon. The fact that I’m running the Route 66 marathon as the “World’s Shortest Ultra” might interfere with that being my official time, but since it’s only about 4 blocks extra maybe not. I don’t think I’m there yet.
Running is going well overall. Paces are slower than I’d like, but it’s summer so that plays a role. Summer started early with very hot humid weather all through May, June and most of July. But there have been some more nice days lately. Maybe summer will break early since it started early? For right now, the heat and humidity are back. My tempo was a slog this morning. I wanted 9 minute miles for my tempo pace, and only managed around an average of 9:20. It was warm and humid, but I wish I could have gotten closer. I had been running my weekly tempos at the high school track, but classes are about to start and I think early morning football practice has started already, limiting access to the track. It’s better to be on the road anyway, or at least more realistic, but I liked being able to measure out my pace so easily. This morning’s run was a strong indication that running a sub 2 road half next month won’t happen. Sub 2 there was a long shot anyway, it’s a hilly race and early September is likely to be too warm here for optimal speed. But the half was only $35 with all the usual goodies when I signed up so it’s worth it. I expect I’ll be closer to 3 hours on the trail half in October.
Added next day – I didn’t get to post this last night, so I’ll add a little about my run this morning. I had a mostly very nice 4 miles on my little trails. That’s most miles I’ve done at once on these trails. There was a lot of running out and doubling back but that’s ok. I can’t beat the convenience even if there probably only about 2 miles total of trail to run. I was surprised when I saw 3-4 deer this morning – it’s a very small bit of woods. I also got bit by a horsefly which was the only not nice part of my run. I was running along when all of the sudden I felt like I was being jabbed in my calf with a needle or a thorn. I looked down and an inch long or longer fly was on my calf sitting surrounded by a spreading spot of blood on my compression sock! Ouch! Ick! Fortunately I didn’t get a huge welt or have it be crazy itchy the rest of today.
The fall line up is set. Vine to Wine Half in Greenville, IL September 8th. F*L*A*T*S (But not flat! It takes place in 1000 Hills State Park) trail half near Kirksville, MO October 6th. Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa OK November 18th. Plus starting grad school. I’ve got some big challenges ahead. I’m a little scared, but also very excited. Finally getting some forward motion!
Now to share some pics from my little bit of trail...
Not a special effect - it really looked like this. Humidity you can see...
It's hot. Not just hot, but hot and humid. Very humid. Sure, it's summer, but this summer seems constantly humid. Maybe it's the fact that there hasn't been a break in the pattern of hot and humid weather. Sure, there are always hot and humid days during the summer, but it seems like during past summers the pattern would change after several days and there was a break for 2 - 3 days when it wasn't bad if you ran early. Maybe I'm just getting older and mis-remembering. That's not limited to politicians you know.
Marathon training is going. I haven't missed any runs which is good. Let's not talk about workouts because pace has seriously suffered. The last time I successfully ran a pace run was during June. It's hard to hold GMP when the temp is a sticky 80 degrees. My RB and I managed to squeeze in a few track workouts to run 800s. Last Thursday's track workout was a fail. We tried to get an early start, but the "feels like" temperature was already 85 degrees under a blazing sun, so that didn't go so well. I may have to rethink GMP.
On 8/18 I'm off to Vermont to run the 100 on 100 relay race with some of my favorite Loopsters. 100 on 100 is a 100 mile relay race on Route 100 in Vermont. The route is very scenic and the race is just a really fun day. Vermont is also home to Ben & Jerry's and we would be remiss if we didn't support local businesses there, right? Beer may be involved as well. Can't wait. The race falls at the perfect time in my training plan. I need 18 miles that day and my legs total 18 miles, so it fits just right. I am a little worried about not running 18 consecutive miles. My 3 legs over the course of 10-12 hours will total 18 miles, but does that have the same training effect as running an 18 mile long run for marathon training purposes? Seems like it does not. Does that matter? Probably not. I think the only difference will be more discomfort during the first 20 mile long run.
The "Baker's Dozen" is going well. The Baker's Dozen is a Challenge that I'm doing with my LRG where we're running 13 half marathons in 12 months. The 13.1 miles doesn't have to be an official race - a 13.1 mile long run will suffice. A marathon counts for two so an October marathon will count for my double. It's a fun way to keep mileage up. Sometimes a few of us will run our 13.1 miles together on a running buddy's birthday, so there's been a bonding aspect to it as well.
Nothing else exciting is going on so Consider yourself updated. Run well.
I had a couple of weeks there when I ran a couple of miles. Walked/jogged, really, but the distinction isn't so important right now. The point it, I felt like I was making progress.
In case you're keeping score like I am, I'm into another two weeks of who knows how many with no running. After being encouraged by the doc that this was just some inflammation in the ACL, I figured the shot and another week of rest would do it.
I'd call things maybe 80% better. Most of the time it's not bad. Sometimes it's even good. Then I'll stand up from a chair and the first step is pretty excruciating. Sort of like PF of the knee. Takes quite a while before it feels OK again.
So I'm going to sign up for the extra PT and I hope they can get me back the rest of the way. I'm just so afraid that this pain is a sign that there's still something damaged in there and that I'm going to do something to make it worse. I trust the Amazing Amanda, though, so if she says I need more PT and less rest, that'll be good enough for me.
Finished painting, doing the laundry room last weekend. I did want to do the stairs to the basement as well, since it still has the old yellow, but I ran out of paint. Don't think I have time now until after this coming week with the kids all coming home. Mrs. Dave will probably have something else on my agenda the next two days.
Anyway, that's all I got.
It’s Monday. All that can be written has already been written about how much Mondays suck. Wanna know how to make a Monday better without taking a vacation day? How about a training plan?
Hope you can read it.
After I was finally able to run the Virginia 10 Miler course last week, I started thinking about adding some structure to my running life. Running 10 miles was a requirement that I gave myself before I would even THINK about training. Here we are…
I didn’t sign up for anything…yet. I’m just getting prepared for a December marathon. I may have one or two in mind.
I’m kinda sorta going back to my roots for this one and using the Advanced 1 plan by Hal Higdon (my first ever marathon used Hal’s novice plan). It’s a nice mix of easy miles with some hills/ speedwork/tempos. The long runs are to be run SLOWLY. Hal doesn’t leave room for cross-training and that is where we split up. I’m going to keep on hitting those kettlebells 2 days a week. I’m either going to skip some Mon/Wed runs or I’ll see if I have what it takes to do both.
The peak week is 55 miles. I think I can handle that. I’ll have to look back through the history books to know what my longest week ever is. I’m guessing 55 will be it. I ain’t scared.
If anyone wants to know more about training plans and what some of this stuff means, let me know. I can talk training plans ALL DAY.
I’m starting to ramble a bit. I just want to say how happy I am that I’ve gotten to this point and I’m looking forward to getting my butt back at it. Let’s do this!!!
July 2018 in review
Total mileage for the month: 290.5 (in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232). In July 2017 I ran 275 miles, and I was pleasantly surprised to be higher this year - I thought I was running less due to my Grandma's Marathon recovery phase.
June 25-July 1: 58.1
July 2-8: 58.7
July 9-15: 64.1
July 16-22: 67.8
July 23-29: 67.2 (vacation week and definitely the most volume I've ever run while on vacation, although I wish I'd had 70+!)
July 30-August 5: projected at 72
After an extremely humid run
July 7: Shuffle for the Shelter long 5K in 19:40 for 1st overall person. The week before I ran a short 5K, and this one was long, so I guess it evens out, right? I won a free massage so that mostly made up for the course being long. I really called it in on the second half of the race, so this race/workout was really something like 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 mile at half marathon pace, 1 mile at marathon pace [face palm].
July 10: Fleet Feet Track Meet 2 mile in 12:15 (1st female), 1 mile on the DMR in 5:59 (1st team), and a leg on the 4 x 100 m probably at half marathon pace also (2nd team no thanks to me). This was a fun way to get in a sauna session track workout!
July 21: Girls Just Wanna Run short 5K in 16:17/18:17 for 1st overall. Maybe someday I will run an accurate 5K, but not in July 2018! The lead cyclist cut 4 block off of this course. I finished in 16:17, but they adjusted my time to account for the cut course by adding 2:00. This was my final short summer race (whew!).
I don't start back to full workouts until August, but I had a bit of faster stuff this month.
July 4: 9 miles with 3 fast finish miles in 6:22, 6:26, 6:11 (the first 6 miles were progressive-ish as well, and my average for all 9 was 7:00 on the nose). I was going to run a Firecracker 5K, but the logistics didn't work out, so I did the 3 mile fast finish on my mileage for the day "for fun" instead...and based on how I felt on those 3 miles, I was sure glad I hadn't raced a 5K! I ended up running a 3 mile cool down, so this was a 12 mile medium long run.
July 10: The Fleet Feet Track Meet 2 mile (6:07, 6:08) counts as my season opener tiny tempo! Somehow I will work up to 10 miles at that pace over this season...which will definitely require it not being one million degrees. The 1 mile I ran after (5:59) counts as *bonus*!
July 21: I was scheduled to do 3 miles progressive fast finish on the tail end of 10 miles, so I ran the Girls Just Want to Run race as a progression. I was aiming for 6:20, 6:15, 6:10 (then sprint in), and my splits were 6:19, 6:16, 6:01so I was very close to my goal, especially considering that the final split wasn't for a full mile (meaning I started off closer to 6:10 and then sprinted in once I saw the finish line).
July 24: 4 mile fartlek of 3' on/3' off (2.3 warm up, 2.4 cool down). I ran this on vacation, and I love running on vacation but running fast while traveling is always a challenge for me, especially in unknown areas! My push paces were: 5:50, 5:46, 5:43, 5:50, 5:54, and I was more than happy with that, because I don't think I'd have really run any faster at home.
July 28: 13.1 miles with 5 x 0.15 presses. Technically I was scheduled to run 12 miles, but I also ran this on vacation and got back to my hotel at 12.8 so made it a half marathon. The pick-ups were at the beginning of miles 7-11, and my paces on them were 5:59, 5:48, 5:58, 5:45, 5:48 (I was trying to keep them sub-6:00). My average pace for the whole run was 7:17, and I was happy enough with that on the tail end of an exhilarating but exhausting trip.
July 30: I had a mini-speed session during my second run, including 2 miles of 1'/1' fartlek (1.5 warm up, 1 cool down). This was my first time having a little "work" within my second run of a double. I ran 9.3 relaxed miles starting at 5:30 a.m. that morning, and then ran this workout at lunch starting at about 1:00 p.m. My push paces were all over the place - ranging from 5:01-6:05 - making me suspect that my Garmin wasn't accurate when measuring pace for only 1:00 (I also ran under two underpasses, twice for each one, so I imagine that didn't help). But the effort was there, and it was fun to do a little workout in my second run for the first time ever.
Doubles on July 10 (Fleet Feet track meet), 16, 19, and 30. I did not run any doubles as I eased back into mileage at the beginning of the month or during our vacation week, but in August I'll have 2 a week again.
Strides on July 26, and before races and most workouts.
Full body strength workouts on July 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, and 29, and 5-10 minutes of core work most days. I didn't do full strength sessions on July 21 or 25 as scheduled due to traveling, but I did 10-20 minutes of strength work creatively here and there (before and after runs, while waiting on everyone at rest stops, while waiting on everyone to go to dinner, etc.) and ended up with 100 minutes total for the week, which is just a little less than I average, so I felt like it was a victory.
Favorite workout: I'll say the fartlek on July 24, mainly because I felt good running sub-6:00 pace and it was much better than the failed farleks that began my Grandma's build. CIM 2018, I'm coming for you!
" Long" Runs/Medium Long Runs:
I think it's clear why "long" is in quotations this month, but I ran a lot of 10-12 milers.
July 1: 11 miles (7:20) for my first straight double digit run since Grandma's Marathon (I ran 10.4 miles on June 30, but it was split a bit into warm up, 5K, cool down). I didn't have a structured training plan for the week that ended on this day, so when my friend Casey asked me to run while she was in town I told her I'd run whatever distance she wanted. She said 8 miles, and she picked a course that was "about 8 miles", but I ended up at 10.6 miles when I got back to my house so tacked on a little more to get to 11...in retrospect I should have gone 12.
July 4: 12 miles, as described above in workouts.
July 7: 11 miles total with the Shuffle for the Shelter race in the middle.
July 12: 12 miles (7:23). This was supposed to be 10 miles, and as per my season goals I ran a new route, which I was completely sure was going to be 10.2 miles. It was actually 11.2 miles, and when I realized it was going to be long I doubled back to tell Rebecca (who I'd dragged on this new route with me) about my error, and when I got back to my car I was at 11.6 so just made it a 12! I felt terrible because Rebecca had to text her boss that she was going to be late to work since we ran farther than planned, but she kept telling me it was not a big deal.
July 14: 12.4 miles (7:08), throwing in a MGP final mile (6:21). I ran that final mile by feel (did not allow myself to look at my watch), trying to zero in on 6:17 effort and I was close! This was a very hot, humid, and hilly long run. We had 6 people start with our running group, but everyone was doing different distances. I had company for about 8 miles. Anytime someone said something about how oppressive the weather was or complained about the second loop that I took them on (which has some ridiculous climbs), I said, "That'll help your marathon". I was the annoying person who felt good on this sauna-esque run. Then I laughed really hard that I finished this run with a faster final mile than I ran at Shuffle for the Shelter race the week before.
July 18: 12 hilly miles (7:29). This was another accidental 12 on a 10 mile day, as I was again exploring a new course (I am doing well on that season goal!) . The route looked simple on a map because I just had to follow one road (which I knew how to get to) until I hit a highway (that I am also familiar with), which I would cross and then loop around on other roads that I was familiar with. The one road I had to follow was very rural, curvy, and hilly, and at one fork in the road the street sign was bent over so was therefore no help at all. I guessed which way my correct road went, and I guessed wrong, so I ended up running on the shoulder of a highway for 1.5 miles (not ideal!) to avoid making the route 15+ miles. I got back to my house at 11.8 instead of 10.X, so I just went to 12 again.
July 21 - 10.6 miles with the Girls Just Wanna Run "5K" in the middle.
July 23 - 11.2 miles (7:28) in Florence, Kentucky. It appeared that I'd have nice running options from our hotel, with a paved recreational trail just across the street, but, alas, it was less than a mile long. I strung it together with some sidewalks for a 2.6 mile loop, then ran around a golf course cart path for a 1.4ish mile loop. I then ran both of those loops in the opposite direction as I had the first time, and added a bunch of parking lot loops to get my distance in. It was a hilly run (891 feet of elevation gain), and after finishing it I felt confident that I could run from about anywhere if I had to.
July 25 - 10.5 miles (7:38) in Niagara Falls, New York. I ran from our hotel towards Lake Niagara hoping to find a running trail, and I did! It was pretty and the distance I had scheduled took me just to the edge of Niagara Falls State Park. I only saw 3 other people running the whole time I was on the path, which made me wonder if it was dangerous or something, because when I've run on paths like that in other cities they've been much more populated. I carried my phone on all of my vacation runs just in case, and I never felt unsafe even if I should have.
July 26 - 10 miles (7:22) plus strides, for 10.8 total. I drove 1.8 miles from my hotel to the running trail I'd found the day before so I could run farther on the trail, and was rewarded with a rainbow over Niagara Falls! We'd walked all around the area in Niagara State Park, but running it was even better.
The line between medium long runs and "what I run every day" has again become non-existent, so I won't note these next month, especially because I had a lot of 9 milers this month that will doubtlessly be 10 milers soon. #doubledigitseveryday
July 28: 13.1 miles, as described above in workouts.
Favorite long run: The July 14 12.4 miler was the one that felt most effortless, but it's pretty hard to beat seeing a waterfall over Niagara Falls on July 26!
I received a sub-elite entry into the California International Marathon on December 2! This is the same category of entry I received in 2017. Since the race is the USATF National Marathon Championships again, an elite entry requires a 2:46:00 or faster marathon (or 1:18:00 or faster half), but as I learned last year, the elites and sub-elites share a starting corral, with separate corrals for men and women. This is a really nice perk when every second counts, gun time! I do not get to place bottles on the course like I did at Grandma's, so I will be back to stuffing 4 gels into my shorts while I attempt to get from Folsom to Sacramento 2:15 faster than I did last year.
I received an elite entry into the Indy Women's Half Marathon on September 29. This is also the same entry I received there in 2017. I figure this will be a nice checkpoint in my build to compare where I'm at to 2017...although at the same time I think I need to stop comparing everything to that season!
I ran two runs in Kansas City this month while there for work, and they were both pancake flat; I did not know flatness existed there but it's nice to know I no longer have to coordinate that work trip around workouts like I have been doing since that division opened 3+ years ago!
I have run every day since January 27, so I am still streaking.
I found this photo I'd never seen from July 2016 when looking
for online photos from a recent 5K. Just keeping up my double-
chin racing form! I also folded that bib number up like mad for
some reason, haha!
I got to meet up with Jessi for a run in KC
4th of July...Albani is more interested in setting things on fire than I'd like! I missed out on most of the fun due to work; Jon and Albani went to Kansas for 3 days without me. Truth be told, I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. and thanks to white noise slept through all fireworks!
We did several fun local weekend activities: blueberry picking, the Christian County fair, farmer's markets...along with our usual weekend church, groceries, and library routines.
Albani spent a week at my parents' house, mostly being spoiled.
Summer vacation #2 happened (details and photos here).
Jon kept gardening, and I kept cooking and eating (you can find many food pics here)!
She did half of these on July 3
Black and Blue Berry Farm (we are growing both; Jon
Her favorite part of the blueberry patch
Ducks at the fair
It doesn't get much cuter than a baby goat!
A tame & tolerant rabbit
Albani saw this with my mom; Jon & I
watched it while she was away
Grandparent activities are exhausting
At a YMCA waterpark
Long overdue race report, as usual. Lots of pictures, as usual.
Waaaaay back in mid-May, I traveled north for the second annual “Caitlin’s Birthday Mother-Daughter Race Weekend.” Last year’s inaugural event was the Martha’s Vineyard Marathon, where my Mom ran her very first half- marathon and I ran my 13thmarathon. This year we were keeping it in New England but heading north to Maine, where Mom would run her third half- marathon (she’s a total pro now) and I’d run my 12thhalf- marathon AND my 17thmarathon, because why run one race when you can run two??
I got home to Massachusetts from DC on Thursday, and Mom and I hit the road for Maine on Friday morning. But first, an important stop for apple cider doughnuts, because New England.
We hit the expo at the University of New England in Biddeford, ME and picked up our packets, then had a tasty early dinner at a cute little Italian place in Saco, where we were staying. I got Flat Caitlin ready for Saturday’s half- marathon (race #1), and we called it an early night.
Saturday morning dawned cool and crisp (sunny and 50 degrees!), which felt amazing to me since DC was already in the throes of its hot, humid summer weather. Mom and I drove over to the start/finish area at the University of New England (about 20 minutes from where we were staying; it seemed like everywhere we needed to be over the weekend was about 20 minutes away from each other…) and parked the car, then headed inside the nice warm student center to wait for the race to start. Lots of other runners slowly trickled in, and I kept an eye out for the yellow bibs that indicated another crazy person who was doing the 39.3 mile challenge. It was so awesome to have a comfortable place to wait indoors and to have real bathrooms to use prior to the race! With about 10 minutes to go, Mom and I walked the little ways over to the start line in a nearby parking lot. I was in the first wave, so I lined up in my corral and chatted with a couple of other runners while we waited for the race director to blow the official starter conch shell.
At 8am sharp, the conch was blown and we were off! Given that I had a marathon to run the next day, my plan was to take the half- marathon nice and easy. This turned out to be a fantastic race to just run for fun, because the course was so beautiful! Almost all of it was right along the coast and I had so much fun soaking up the ocean views and marveling at the gorgeous beach mansions in the quiet neighborhoods that we ran through.
The race seemed to fly by, and before I knew it I was coming into the finish back at the university campus! I was really happy with how consistent I kept my pace throughout the race, and how comfortable it felt.
I collected my medal and commemorative water bottle (way to be both green and fun, Maine Coast Marathon!), went to the car to grab my warm layers, and then camped out at the finish to cheer on runners and wait for Mom to come in.
I met two super cute and very good dogs waiting for their person to finish the race as well, so that was fun. And cheering at the finish line is ALWAYS a great time! Mom came flying in so much sooner than she’d expected – she finished in 2:54:xx, breaking three hours for the first time and getting a ridiculous 14-minute PR!
After enjoying a post-race Shipyard beer in the beer garden, Mom and I got cleaned up and then headed into Freeport, because it was only about half an hour away and I was desperate to visit the HUGE L.L. Bean flagship store! It didn’t disappoint!
The rest of Freeport was super cute and we had fun walking around and window shopping (and maybe doing some actual shopping too!). We stumbled upon the Wicked Whoopie store, which was SO exciting because they always come to the Big E (basically a New England state fair that’s held the next town over from my parents) and are a family favorite!
Look at the size of this whoopie pie!!
That is 5 entire pounds of sugar and fat. A little much even for my huge sweet tooth. I did get a few regular-sized whoopie pies though, including a chocolate-dipped one! Mmmmmm….
After walking around Freeport for a while, Mom and I had dinner and some beer flights at a really cool brew pub over in Portland: Liquid Riot Brewing. It was so delicious! Then we went back to our hotel, I got the marathon version of Flat Caitlin ready, and I hit the hay.
I got up nice and early to have my pre-race breakfast and coffee, and Mom and I drove the 20ish minutes to the Marathon start at Kennebunk High School. Yet again, we had a nice warm indoor space to wait and real bathrooms! Maine Coast Marathon FTW!
There was a bit of confusion after we moved out to the start line. The race director made an announcement that there was an emergency with the volunteer crew that was setting up the aid stations, and that there would be no hydration stations for the first 8 miles of the race. They would also be delaying the start by another 15 minutes to allow the volunteers to get the aid stations set up for the remaining miles of the race. We never found out what happened with the volunteers, and while I wasn’t super thrilled about extra time standing out in the chilly morning, I’d much rather do without water for the FIRST 8 miles of a marathon rather than the last 8! (as I sit here in August in DC thinking about 8 miles without water, I shudder a bit, but it was only in the 40s that morning!)
Finally we were off! I had zero plans for this marathon other than to take it easy, have fun, and try to run fairly consistent splits, which meant starting off at a really easy effort. The course itself was mostly really enjoyable. We wound through Kennebunkport, which was such a cute little town! And there were more breathtaking ocean views and gorgeous beach houses to look at. There was a stretch along the shoulder of a highway that was less than ideal, and it’s also where pretty much all the uphill was. So that was a little unpleasant, but I got through it and the last few miles were back to scenic ocean views.
I started with gloves and tube sock arm-warmers because it was so chilly! Oh to feel cold again…
The volunteers were great, and by the time I came through Mile 6 or so, they’d gotten a makeshift water station set up. I honestly didn’t notice the lack of water for the first several miles, though I was thankful to have it once it was available again. Hopefully that issue didn’t mess up anyone else’s race too dramatically!
It’s been a little while, so I don’t remember as many specifics about the race as I might have immediately afterwards. But I remember just genuinely enjoying running it, and kind of marveling at how fresh I felt given that I’d just run a half the day before. In the couple of place where there was an out-and-back that allowed us to see the runners ahead of and behind us, all of the people with the yellow 39.3 Challenge bibs cheered for each other, which was really cool!
Before I knew it, I reached the final few miles. There was a photographer right at the 26-mile mark, which I thought was both hilarious and a little bit mean, so I had to cheese for him a bit.
I made the final turn and heard my mom cheering before I spotted her.
I crossed the finish in 3:54:53, which combined with my 1:54:40 half- marathon the day before, gave me a 6th place finish among the women doing the 39.3 Challenge!
I was so happy with how I’d paced the marathon, and I was thrilled to have gone sub-2:00/sub-4:00 for the race weekend, since even though I didn’t officially have any goals, doing that was my not-so-secret goal.
I picked up my marathon medal and Challenge medal, and borrowed Mom’s half- marathon medal (which she wore to the marathon finish line because why not?) for a photo shoot! So much bling!
It was still cool enough at the finish for me to rock the Challenge jacket, so that was great!
Mom and I hung around in the finish line beer garden for a while, and met up with Amber and her DH, which was great! Mom had packed up the car and checked out of our hotel while I was running, so everything was ready for our road trip back to Massachusetts. But we made a slight detour on our way out of Maine to see the famous Portland Head Lighthouse:
After getting back to MA, I enjoyed a super relaxing week at home to recover, hang out at the stables, and celebrate my 32nd birthday!
Next up: more catch-up bloops about summer training, crazy 5Ks, and chasing big goals!
This guy is the source of my misery. I think I hate him.
Hello and happy hump day to you! My July running results are in and I finished with 96 miles, down 1 mile from June. Why didn’t I run 4 more and get an even 100?!
I started August off with a 6 mile run that included 4 pretty fast miles. The splits were 7:21, 7:13. 7:19 and 7:17. I’m happy with those times, but a little unhappy with just how hard I had to work to get them.
Back in November, I was dropping 10 mile tempos at slightly better paces than today’s and with relative ease. Yes, the weather was substantially better, but still. I know this is crying over spilled milk (or torn Achilles tendons), but it’s really hard not to have negative feelings about losing what I’d worked so hard to gain.
I’m progressing and I know that. I have great friends that are encouraging me and pushing me to get back. I want to race and I don’t want to race. I know there’s joy to be found in just showing up and experiencing races, but that’s not how I’ve been wired. I need to compete. I compete with other runners. I compete with myself. I PR or blow up trying. I can’t compete with last year Randy right now and it frustrates me.
I’m hoping that some of you can relate and maybe you’ll know what to say. For now, I’ll keep grinding. I’ll keep waking up before 5am and swimming through the swampfest that is summertime. I’m sure a time will come when I don’t have to work so hard for a fast pace. I haven’t lost hope yet.
Thanks for letting me whine and complain. It’s good to have a place to do that. Maybe I can compare myself to 6 months ago me instead. I’m WAY faster than that guy!
Do you even run, Bro?
More writing about not running. Bleh.
Figured with my return to the ortho, I'd let things settle down as much as possible. Then he'd know what was really happening. He did. The good news: the meniscus repair is all in good shape. The pain I'm feeling now is inflammation in the medial collateral ligament. Bad news: I have inflammation in the medial collateral ligament. What to do? He gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed another week of rest and then some cold ointment until it all settles down the rest of the way. Also, more PT if I feel like it. So I rested over the weekend, and it hurt a bunch yesterday and today, more than when I was running a couple of miles on it.
Dermatologist appointment went fine. Scraped off the area on my right leg but had to excise (translation: dig out with a scalpel) a one inch diameter hole a quarter inch deep in the left. Didn't hurt thanks to the lidocaine, but it's pretty ugly. Anyway, he thinks he got all of it. Should find out this week for sure.
Colonoscopy also went well. There were three polyps, all benign. Finding three of them, though, puts me on the three-year plan now, so I have to go back in 2021. Sure hope I have a marathon to schedule around by then.
A few (maybe more?) years ago, I was on the interwebs and stumbled across the Georgia Death Race. At the time, it seemed unfathomable to “run” something so difficult. Who in the world would ever be able to do such a thing?
And here I am signed up for this race.
There is a correlation in the time I read a piece by Lisa Jhung. She carelessly tossed around “hilly 16 miler” like it was a walk down the street and I was in awe that someone could do such a thing and still go about their day like a normal person. This was obviously well before I signed up for my first marathon. But I remember it distinctly because I wanted to know what it felt like to be able to do something so awesome with ease.
And I’ll admit that over the years the long runs, marathons, and ultras seemed to just become more flippant. Not that I wasn’t working hard to maintain a certain level of fitness. I always respected the distance. But I did start to see marathons as just stepping stones in the process of completing more ultras.
After finishing that first 26.2 though, I never have really had much doubt about completing a distance. Sure, I’ve had thoughts in the moment about continuing the race. But I’ve never actually felt like I signed up for something that I wasn’t sure of finishing.
Even the first 24 hour/100 miler. There was a bit of fear of the unknown after the 100K mark. I knew things were going to get tough and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect both mentally and physically. But I think I always knew that I was capable of doing it.
Which is what led me to thinking after this last 24-hour race that I really needed to just get myself out of going after the “easy” stuff. I put a true 100-mile race on my goal list along with a fast marathon. Both really were not unachievable, especially considering 2016 & 2017.
When I was first injured back in February, I started seeking out the gnarliest races possible. Crazy elevation and distances. Seemed totally reasonable to be in a boot and dreaming about 40,000’ of gain. There is this weird line of wanting to do things that are really hard and knowing what your body is capable of. I think I’ve always waiting until I was beyond ready to go after a goal. So, I felt the need to jostle it up a bit.
But now I kind of find myself back at square one. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to get my fitness and endurance back up, but I do know it will probably be months even in the best conditions to feel somewhat normal again.
I’m getting wordy now. It happens. If I can’t run, at least I can write. Running arguably leaves me feeling much better, but writing seems to be relatively injury-free. <Insert carpal tunnel foreboding thought here>
I should be creatively thinking about other things, but my brain is kind of tapped out at the moment. There is a lot bubbling up there right now. Excitement about the boot removal, fear of effing myself up again, how to manage pain, how to know what is normal, how to know what is detrimental, etc., etc.
I know there will be good days and bad. I know I will likely feel something that makes me say ohshitohshitohshit. I know I will do something really stupid. I know that I will back off even when I don’t need to.
I was thinking this morning as I walked into the bathroom half-awake that I missed 2016 Carissa. I had pulled a glass out of the cabinet last night to enjoy an IPA that a coworker brought back from Indiana. I chose a glass from the last 50 miler I did which was in Indiana. It was more of a last-minute whim that I decided to race. Man, what I would give to be in jumps-into-50-milers shape right now.
Mind you, it took a few years of consistent work to get to that point. I felt good because I interspersed the racing and big goals with fun running. But then I got greedy and wanted more, MORE, MORE!
This will be the hard. I still want more.
It’s going to be tough to run just to run. For the last 5ish years, I’ve been jumping from race to race without any real down time. There was something always near on the horizon. I would say I learned my lesson, but I don’t want to live cautiously forever. I mean, I don’t want to live in the boot forever either. What’s a girl to do?
It seems like advice comes out of the woodwork when things are not peachy keen. I’ve decided at age 36 that I’m disagreeable to getting advised. Maybe that makes me a stubborn jerkface. Oh well.
It’s kind of a liberating feeling when you stop worrying about what other people think. I can still be kind and thoughtful, but I don’t have to pretend. I’ve never been a good liar. You will likely know if I like you or not.
Back to running. I have my little “plan” set up for next week and let’s be honest, the weeks following until NYC. But I have no idea what it truly will look like from week to week. In some regards I wish I had a coach to just keep me from hurting myself, but that kind of goes against my whole disagreeable-to-getting-advised. And would I actually be honest with him/her?
I dunno. I feel like I have a few people that I talk to about my running that I can be 100% honest about how I feel/what I want and they aren’t trying to give me advice with every conversation. Oh, and I can freely bitch in my running log. Even if the pain is microscopic, I can complain. And I do want it noted because I actually see where I started feeling tibial pain this last go ‘round.
The boot is off.
It should be followed by an exclamation point, but I don’t know that I feel it is worthy of that until I have my first pain-free run. And I need to get to the point that I am doing pain-free walking first.
I think I had felt mostly better when I got out of the boot the last time. Like, I wasn’t super worried about going for a run because I wasn’t still nursing the injury.
But this time my FF hurts and the FT seems to be mostly okay. I hate waiting and my heart is so ready to run, but I am really trying to not be stupid.
So I’m still sitting at work. I’ve got the metatarsal pad back on. I will take it one day at a time when it comes to weight-bearing exercise. I’m waiting for the day that I wake up and things are not in pain.
Saturday, I had a lot of FF pain. It was really bothering me and I took each step from the parking garage to the stadium with ease. I sat during most of the concert save for the last hour or so when it finally seemed to be a little less painful. Paired with a summer cold leaving me with laryngitis, the inability to shout, the heat of the day, and the tiny chairs crammed in together, I was not having a great time TBH. Plus, I was super conscious of the balance of staying hydrated enough to pass out, but not hydrated enough to stand in line for the bathroom all evening. Very annoying when I was trying to flush out a cold.
I had spent most of the day Saturday just laying around. It made me feel a teeny bit guilty that I didn’t do much, but I also knew it was going to be a long night.
Sunday, I slept in really late. My FF actually felt pretty good all day, but I didn’t want to press my luck. I decided to just do an arm Tabata workout and part of a core workout. I stood for a few of the arm exercises that are more awkward sitting, but also made sure that I didn’t do too many of them standing.
I piddled around the house cooking, doing laundry, etc. and was on my feet for a bit, but I barely had over 3,000 steps for the day.
I’m not really sure if being barefoot or having shoes on is better at this point. The pressure of the shoe on the top of my foot is pretty annoying sometimes, but I think the support of a harder soled shoe is better. Seems like every other day is a different feeling.
It made me think about Boston when my foot was killing me the day of the expo, but then I actually felt pretty good the day I ran?
Of course, I miss running a lot, but I also just miss being able to do my daily activities without pain. Even just walking around like a normal person is something that I haven’t been able to do for quite some time.
Oh. Em. Gee. There might be light at the end of the tunnel?? I don’t want to get too excited, but let’s face it, I am too excited. Today marks the first day in quite a long time that my foot and leg did not seems to be bothering me AND I can walk like a normal person.
I was almost thinking that I was never going to know what that felt like again. Dramatic for someone who ran paced someone for 30 miles in May and ran the Boston Marathon in April. I know.
But I haven’t felt good about anything related to my running in about 8 weeks so excusemewhileIenjoythis.
I really want to just go run right now. But I think I need to wait at least another day before attempting. I know it is going to be a pretty awful and amazing experience. Awful because I’m going to be ridiculously out of shape. Amazing because, well, running!
I am going to head to the gym tonight to get muh HR up a bit on some torturous cardio machine. It seems like my willpower to withstand them gets tinier by the day. But maybe if my body is actually feeling decent, it might suck less? I dunno, I don’t want to do anything to hamper my first run experience, so I’m tempted to just try to keep it as easy as possible (famous last words).
I used the arc trainer for 45 minutes (plus a 5-minute cool down) on Tuesday and my FF seemed to be a bit agitated about the situation. It was feeling tender afterwards through my strength workout, so I maintained the sitting position through my reps.
Yesterday, I wore the metatarsal pad all day and sneakers to work. It’s not like I walk around much at all, but my foot was feeling achy and I couldn’t shake the feeling that is was swollen. It wasn’t, but the pad makes my foot feel stuffed in my shoe even with the laces loosened.
Anyway, I took the pad off yesterday on my commute home. I ran into Target quickly and it seemed to feel better. So, I went for a walk at the rec center at a pace best described as leisurely, but not lazy. It actually seemed to feel okay about 10 minutes into the walk but then felt-better-than-before-but-worse-than-in-the-middle afterwards.
I kind of thought about going for a 10 second jog in the middle of the walk. But geez, I’m so afraid of effing something up that I just had to tell myself NO! The timeline is not tight, and I only stand to lose at this point.
Today, the FF seems to be more cooperative. I was actually supposed to get my boot off Tuesday and in my original plans, I hoped to do a bit of running by Friday. But the doc wanted me to just walk around for 2 weeks. I’m torn between getting a better cardio workout and adhering to the doctor’s orders versus getting the chance to run!
Like, when I think about it, what idiot actually wants to be running?
*Raises hand like the biggest brown-noser in the class*
But I’m anxious to try even a little bit. This waiting stuff is for the birds.
I ran. For 23 minutes & 35 glorious seconds. It was super slow. It was a mere 2 miles. But it felt so good to just fall into the rhythm of running. Gosh, I knew I missed it, but I couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin off my face for the first 5 minutes.
Things felt mostly good through the run. FF was a little sore, but not really noticeable. FT was a little more noticeable, or so I thought. I realized afterwards that it wasn’t the same spot that I was feeling, but rather the outside of my shin which is likely due to um, not using it for almost 2 months.
Feeling no worse for the wear and having the happy endorphins of running coursing through my body made me very well, content. I was kind of relieved that everything went off rather unremarkably and that stupid Alanis song Hand in my Pocket was playing as I made the short drive from the rec center home. Everything’s going to be fine, fine, fine.
But then Adam gave me the face when I got home. It’s the most annoying and best thing about marriage is that your person knows you. They know your faults, they know your weaknesses, and they for better or worse, care about you. I think about when I used to nag him all the time about his smoking and he would just trying to weasel out of the conversation by changing the subject. I immediately felt the flight upon seeing his face and practically bolted upstairs to do an arm workout.
Eventually, I had to face the music though. When we headed out to dinner, I fought the flight and started to fight when he broached the subject. He knew the doctor wanted me to wait until I was seen again to start running. And he knew that I knew it was reckless for me to running. I tried to negotiate at first. With him, with myself. There’s no gym equipment that gives me the same feeling as running. It’s like pacifying a cigarette smoker with bubble gum.
I’m not sure where my emotions left off. We are in the point of marriage where even the dicey stuff comes to halt rather quickly as I think it’s easier to remember that stewing gets you nowhere. He kind of left it with letting his feelings be known and me acknowledging that I was not happy about his grievances, but I was taking them to heart.
And my decision about running for the next 10 days?
On one hand, I feel like I have it out of my system for at least a few days. And while it wasn’t fast or long, the fluidity and motions of running felt as good as they always did. I didn’t struggle with breathing. My heart felt happy. My legs and arms remembered what to do. So, will it buy me at least 10 more days of bench time?
Probably not, if I’m being honest with myself.
But maybe it will give me every 2-3 days and I can ‘fess up my crime with only minimal infractions. I’m halfway tempted to call the doctor to see if they can get me in sooner.
In the meantime, at least I feel a little better about getting on those godforsaken cardio machines with the knowledge that running will be in the near future. And I probably can get a better workout on them simply because I shouldn’t be pushing myself with the load-bearing stuff anyway.
And walking is good, so I can at least incorporate that into my life. Funny how you don’t appreciate a good walk until you can’t do it.
After dinner, Adam told me that he has days that he feels good and that he could do a little bit of walking. But that he has days that things still feel pretty blah. So, I was trying to pry out of him whether he wanted me to ask him about going for a walk or let him figure it out on his.
I think we both know that left to his own devices, he is likely not going to do it by himself. It’s just not a habit for him. I’d like to think that could change, but I also don’t want to get too hopeful. It’s so easy that we get stuck in our ways (hello running girl!) and find it impossible to navigate the new normal.
So, while I’m doing a bit of recovery myself, I will be attempting to see if he can start walking again.
It would be really great if he could go back to the BAA 5K and finished what he started. But I also don’t want to push my own agenda on him – easier said than done.
I chose my dirtiest, most worn shoes. They look like they should have been tossed out 500 miles ago and are almost over-the-top in their state of deterioration. But a friend suggested I would crave the comfort of the ones that have served me well over the year.
The caked-on dirt full of memories had to be shaken out once before I even started running. The interior sides both ripped behind the big hole were not a deterrent, even on the sandy trail. I laced them up like I had done thousands of times before, standing at the crossroads of before and after.
It was only a big deal to me.
But I made myself walk to my favorite section of flat trail that heads due west for about 50 meters. Then I picked up my shoulders like I was sighing heavily and dropped into a run.
I expected it to feel sloppy or difficult. My breathing might feel labored or I would want to stop shortly after I started. But instead, I felt relief. Relief that it felt good. Relief that it felt natural. Relief that I want to just keep going for a really long time.
It seems funny that we have these barriers put upon us, but I suppose that is what made it felt good. Like I knew I was breaking the rules.
I’m sure I would have changed my mind after 4 miles about wanting to run for a really long time. It just seemed like it was such an easy pace that I could hold it forever.
Like when I started at Hinson and it felt so painfully easy that I was nearly bored out of my mind. But then it slowly became harder and the easy pace became my hard pace.
Given my feelings over the last 6 months, it seems like that was a different person.
But as I climbed the tiny hill in the back section of the rec center loop, I thought about GDR and the training I would need to put in this winter to feel prepared. And instead of it scaring me, I felt so overwhelmingly excited. I wanted to climb those hills to exhaustion. To keep taking the curve of the forest service roads and wondering when they would end. I thought about goals and the feeling of satisfaction no matter how long it took given the place I was at now.
And maybe that’s what I needed in my running. To know that even on the worst of days that it still was a joy to be able to move my body in that way.
I haven’t run again since last Thursday. 90% I would attribute to Adam talking some sense into me. 10% because my FF hasn’t felt quite right. Maybe I’m in denial, but it isn’t really pain. It’s more like it is just not quite right. I’m not sure if that makes any sense except to me. The FT seems to be healed, so perhaps I am focusing all my crazy energy on my foot?
I can’t tell if I am just being hyperaware of my body because of what has transpired over the last 6 months or if there is actually something going on. What a strange feeling that it doesn’t definitively hurt, but it also doesn’t feel 100% either. I know the doctor said that it could take up to a year to heal so I’m holding onto the possibility that it is just going through that process.
On the other hand, I live in fear of screwing it up again and being forced to take another break from running. I’m not certain I can intelligently make these decisions by myself because I’m always going to angle for a way to keep running. I think this is called addiction?
I actually did okay with the break this second go ‘round for the first couple of weeks. But then as the weeks wore on and I started to get further away from those last runs, I missed it more and more. And now that the boot is off, I feel even more raring to let it rip, but this constant fear is harping on me.
Before I went through this process, I would read stories of other people’s injuries and never felt a connection. Sure, I had niggles of pain here and there and often took a few days off to rest something that seemed to be giving me trouble. But I couldn’t relate to the weeks, months, seasons that runners would miss.
Now I get it.
And while the benching is hard enough, I’m going to say getting back into it has been harder for me. I’m aware that I have no chill when it comes to this. And having no running makes me even more neurotic. A solid 20 miler is a good way to help exhaust me.
Well, it's like this. I killed off Facebook and Twitter because of their political implications. I'm wrestling with Instagram, but I don't know how I could rationalize it. I have a blog that has been overtaken by a guy from Estonia. And yet, I need to write. Always, I need to write.
So here I am.
I have entered the third act of life. I'm still working, but out of a small sweatshop being run out of our spare bedroom, so I never have to wear pants, which is a bit distressing for Mr. Pants. I'm growing a Letterman beard and forcing the cat to stay awake for a second hour of the day. But basically I never leave the apartment these days, except to bask in the glory of the SCC track. So that's what I've been doing. I got in an even 20 miles this week, which is the distance I always tell my oncologist I'm running, except now I wouldn't be lying. Except I have no oncologist visits scheduled in the near future, forcing him to bill someone else so he can afford his exotic mountain bike equipment.
Mo has grown suspicious of my track obsession. I just walk, after all. What difference does it make? I don't know. It's just the feeling of the place. Some people love trails, some roads. Me? I'm at home in Lane 9. We've been talking about moving to Flagstaff. Does she pitch the mountains, the trails, the leftist vibe? No. "You know they have a really great track," she says. Mo is wise.
It's been 150 degrees or so here lately, so mostly I have the place to myself. But today there were football guys and burrowing owls. There's been a long snapper working out here forever. He takes a big trash can, counts off 8 yards or so, and smashes a football into it over and over and over and over and over. I have thought a lot about how it would be more efficient to have a second guy. Yes, that's what I think about when I think about running, Mr. Murakami.
Today, HE HAD A SECOND GUY! They took turns, one snapping to the other, then turning around, then going the other way, then back again, until they both pass out. This seems terribly boring to me, but then I'm walking in circles at a 14:50 pace. So ...
The OTHER thing that drives me nuts is wondering who these people are. This track has everyone from Olympic gold medalists to ummm, me, so I'm always curious, but too shy to ask. AND THEN! The second guy today had his backpack on the bench, which gave just enough info for an intrepid journalist to uncover. He's the starting long snapper for the University of Utah. Sophomore, apparently quite good. Now if I can find out who the wide receiver with the white gloves is, I can sleep tonight. Or maybe hard apple cider. Yeah, that second one.
Being a recluse makes the daily outing a huge deal. I'm pretty excited about the future. Miles is miles, yeah? I hope to get up to a decent weekly mileage and hope my body gives in and starts to speed up a bit. If not, that's OK. It's good to be alive on a sunny day.
And so I will write inaccurate headlines, go out for a daily jaunt, and file here on a daily basis. Yes, you can ignore me. I just need a place to write without fear of Estonian retribution. It's what the late Dave Schultz would have wanted.
It's good to get back on track ...
my work posse. no, they’re not talking to me. yet.
Right after college, I got a job with the Daily News Tribune as a newspaper reporter. Except for the pay (I could read want-ads for motel maids that offered more money), it was a dream come true. Eventually, I found out that about a year before I got there the Daily News Tribune had been responsible for what may still be the second funniest thing I've ever seen in the media in regards to the sport of running.
The Editor was a great guy, and loved to run. It was only a couple years after the publication of "The Complete Book of Running," by Jim Fixx, so running as a pastime was still a bit new to the general public (In fact, it was this 10K that first gave me the bug to maybe one day run a race). The Daily News Tribune came up with a great idea: let's sponsor a 10K race. It was new and exciting and well attended. The Daily News Tribune was very proud of its first Daily News Tribune 10K, held in the city of Fullerton.
Except, when it came to news for the next day's coverage, there had also been a gas leak the very same day in another part of town that actually caused many people to be evacuated for their safety. Big news.
So, across the entire front page, in dramatically big type at the top, was the headline: Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate. And to the far right, was one column below the headline that told the story of the gas leak.
However, the Daily News Tribune was very proud of its 10K race. For a long time, they had been picturing this front page, with the 10K prominently featured. They were so happy to put a photo above the fold that was three or four columns across, and 10 inches or more deep. Huge. It showed off the big crowd of runners in flight, with a caption below it about the success of the race.
Only the editors of the Daily News Tribune saw the front page as a sensible presentation of the previous day's news.
The rest of the world saw the headline, "Gas Leak; Thousands Evacuate" above a big photo of hundreds of people running through the streets of Fullerton.
It looked like the fastest and best mass public evacuation in history.
And everyone had the good sense to change into their running clothes in order to evacuate as rapidly as possible!
It took well over a year before local newspaper people stopped laughing about it. Well, like me, they're probably laughing about it still.
Good morning and Happy Sunday! This week’s post title has not one but TWO song references. Who can tell me what they are?
I’ll warn you now, THIS POST IS FOR RUNNING NERDS.
Yesterday, I decided it was time to take the plunge and try a double digit run. I hadn’t run double digits since I hobbled through the Rehoboth Beach Marathon on December 2nd of last year. Wow, that’s a long time ago. Of course, my first thought was that I better choose someplace flat, but that would just make too much sense now wouldn’t it?
That is NOT flat.
I chose the Virginia 10 miler course. As you can see, it’s pretty much the opposite of someplace flat. For this run, my goal was just to finish. Spoiler alert: I FINISHED!
So happy to be back to using all of my fingers. #mimeschool
I had no pace in mind other than not to go too fast that I would have to walk (or “hike”, as the trail runners say). Usually, I would run by “feel” and use what is known as perceived effort to determine whether I was going to fast or not. If it starts to feel like a struggle, just slow down a little.
I’ve been paying more and more attention to heart rate these days. I really think it’s an excellent indicator of improvements in fitness, signs of overtraining/fatigue and level of effort on a run. I’m a running nerd to the core, so this all makes total sense.
Sidenote: There’s an extension on Google Chrome called StravistiX that I highly recommend if you want to analyze your workouts in great detail.
I decided to manage yesterday’s run by really paying attention to heart rate. I won’t do this all the time because micromanaging a run isn’t fun and adds stress, but it was good for where I am in trying to come back from a torn achilles.
Lots of little ups and downs in HR where I tried to keep it controlled.
Early in the run, I got anxious and my heart rate started to go nuts. I steadied my breathing and told myself to relax. Believe it or not, that worked! Throughout the run (especially climbing), my heart rate would creep up to Zone 5 (I won’t get into the Zone stuff but it’s an easy google search to find an explanation better than I can give) so I would take my foot off the gas pedal a little and try to relax.
The other cool thing is that late in the run, I started to tire mentally and started to worry that I wasn’t going to make it. I’d look at my heart rate and see that it wasn’t elevated. This led me to believe that I wasn’t working as hard as I thought and that I still had something left to give. That mentality got me to finish strong and trust my body.
Running buddy Jeremy took a pic of me finishing up the last climb and looking happy doing it!
There’s something to this heart rate stuff….Anybody else run by heart rate?
Y’all probably remember the short heads up that we got when The Loop was being shut down. Well, I decided to try to download ALL of the blogs I’d written on there! I think I got most of them (including the Ass Chaffing one FYI)! I had written some great stuff, including all of my race reports. I’m not a great writer but I always like to document things. I thought it would be fun to start a series of Flashback Fridays where I post an old blog that I wrote! It will also be a great trip down memory lane for me and great motivation to keep pushing. I’ll likely skip around with the content but I assure you it will be good stuff!
Let’s get started!
This installment is from May 2011 and my first marathon! The Country Music Marathon in Nashville. One of my best friends, Erin, and I took a road trip there from NC where we met up with her mom and sister who came in from Wisconsin. Now, I must warn you that I was (ok, still am) very silly, so just go with it…
Country Music Marathon Race Report- Part 1: Road Trip to Nashville
I am a procrastinator, thru and thru, and I’m pretty sure it’s never going to change. I waited, like usual, to pack everything the day before (and even the morning of). When I finally got to sleep, I slept well. I was raring to go the next morning and ready to start the 8-9 hour road trip with Erin. Our first stop was actually in my hometown and we picked up a couple sugar-free Redbulls. Sitting in a picnic table outside the gas station was a guy wearing a “I heart to fart” t-shirt. Erin and I were laughing hysterically in the car and I thought, Yep, that’s my hometown for ya!
We got to Knoxville and I had a hankering for TCBY (frozen yogurt, remember those places?). Erin typed in into her GPS and it said there was one right off the road ahead. So we get to where it is supposed to be and it was not there. We drive around a little and even asked someone. No luck.
So we go to the next one which was supposed to be about 4 miles down the road. We got stuck in back road traffic for about 20 mins and finally get to where this one was SUPPOSED to be. Instead of TCBY there is some little wrinky dink ice cream place. Inside is a tall goofy stoner kid behind the counter who then tries to make small talk with us. From the looks of the place we should have known the ice cream wouldn’t be good. We both got some cookie dough on cones and left (after taking about 15 mins in there). We both take a couple bites and kinda look at each other with sad faces. For one, it wasn’t the FroYo that we wanted and second, it tasted like a$$. The cookie dough was crumbly and that’s just all sorts of wrong! We pulled over to a trash can and I dumped them.
Right after we started down the road to get back on the freeway, there it was….Frozen Yogurt!! “There! There’s some! Let’s GO!” Erin whips the car around and we headed for the frozen yogurt. We pull up to the store and it had a big “Coming Soon” sign in the window. AHH!!!! That is when we both started laughing so hard we almost peed. Erin calls her husband and can barely get out any words. He thought something was terribly wrong because it sounded like she was crying, which she was, but in a good way! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. We spent an hour looking for frozen yogurt within a 5 mile radius! Needless to say, we didn’t get any yogurt. Our trip took about 2 hours longer due to the yogurt and traffic. We made it to our cute little B&B and met up with Erin’s mom and sister. The place was gorgeous and super cute!
The first night Erin’s mom found this SWEET hat in her closet and then found a couple more. What did we do? What anyone would do. DRESS UP! There were only 3 hats so we had to come up with another one. Erin found a basket and then put it on her head. The owner of the B&B was very sweet and happened to be a triathlete! She left us tasty pastries and had organic everything for us. She even left us a little note the day before the marathon wishing us luck!
Country Music Marathon Race Report – Part 2: Marathon Day! 5/4/2011
I forced my procrastinating self to get everything ready way beforehand and I actually did! I decided to run the thing in just my sports bra and shorts so I pinned my number to my bra. It worked out well actually. Sports bras are super handy; I stuffed a mini Cliff bar on each side. I had a pocket in the back of my short where I put some sport beans. I was carrying a hand-held water bottle that had a pocket where I was able to put another pack of sport beans, a GU and 2 salt tabs. I had things stuffed everywhere! I slept very well the night before as I normally do. I usually don’t get nervous until the morning of and usually give myself a tummy ache. When I woke up, I was wide awake and ready to go. I wasn’t really thinking about what was ahead and was just focused on not forgetting anything and getting out the door. It was a little chilly so I put on a light jacket that I could take off and put in my drop bag. We left the B&B at 4:20ish and got to LP field with no traffic. We got over to the start line when it was still dark and had a lot of waiting around to do. I was surprised that they had food tents (bagels, muffins, etc.) at the start. I’d never seen that before. We went over to the Parthenon and took some pics. What a great building! What I did forget was a throw away t-shirt to wear from the time I dropped my bag until the start. So I was left standing in my sports bra and tiny shorts. Brrr!! Erin brought her shirt but didn’t want me to be the half naked loner so she joined me in the chilliness. What a friend, eh?!
I was standing in corral 13 and it still didn’t register in my mind that I was actually about to run 26.2 miles. I still wasn’t nervous because it just seemed so surreal. The first gun went off right at 7. There was a lot of people so you just saw blobs of people running over the first hill. When it was time to go, I took off. I wanted to start conservatively and that’s what I did. I was hoping to run a sub-4 and knew I’d have to keep it around 9:05 to do so. I kept my eyes on the 4:00 pace group sign and wanted to make sure I was behind it for a little while. There were so many awesome spectators and I was overwhelmed by it. I was just amazed that so many were there cheering us on and it was highly motivating.
The whole race was kind of a blur so I won’t be able to break it down mile for mile. At mile 4, I got the urge to pee. I noticed a line at the port o’ potties at every aid station and thought, when will I ever get to go? I’m not waiting in line! So I held it. I held it until mile 8 when I saw a row of potties with no line! I ran over and ran right in one. I didn’t even lose a minute and I felt way better afterwards. It didn’t take long to catch back up to the 4:00 pacers. It was very frustrating having to weave around the crowds of people. Starting all of us together was just not a good idea. A lot of energy was used doing all of that maneuvering. I was feeling really good until about mile 10ish when my hips started to get tight. Already?! It wasn’t painful, just annoying. I came up on this group of three and they had SO MUCH energy! They kept chanting things and toying with each other. They were only running the halfso I yelled over “Can you throw some of that energy this way?!” A girl asked me my name and then the three of them shouted and clapped, “Chris! Chris! She’s our man! If she can’t do it, no one can!” I LOVED IT! That definitely pepped me up and I was thankful for their energy.
Myself, Erin, and her mom
I was drinking and eating well and was having no tummy issues. My knees weren’t bothering me at all and I just kept going. Things were getting tighter but not causing any issues. I was playing leap frog with the 4:00 pacers and just wished I could stay ahead of them. At 2:15 I took my first salt tab. I hadn’t used them during my training runs and honestly didn’t know how they’d work out. I used them for adventure races but never while running. I hit a mental wall at mile 20. I thought, I have a 10K to go! Holy @#$! My legs just didn’t want to go anymore. I had to chant to myself: You can do it. Only a 10K to go. That’s a cake walk! Just remember that the pain is temporary and you won’t even feel this in a couple days. All you have to do is finish. At 3:15, I took my last salt tab. I had already taken several very short walk breaks and took more after mile 21. At that point we were entering a park and would be coming back out at mile 24. We were able to see the 24 mile mark at mile 21 and that was a mental shot to the head. Those 3 miles were very long and I never thought I’d get out of the park. It was very beautiful and I hated that I couldn’t enjoy it.
I knew I was going to have more than 26.2 miles in and wasn’t sure I was going to finish sub 4. I had been ahead of the 4 hour pace group for several miles and thought I had it. The last couple miles were extremely hard. Everything from my lower back down was so tight and didn’t want to move. At mile 25, there were two people having a conversation right beside me. I thought, if you can talk like that, why the hell are you back here? So I picked it up to get ahead of them. Coming down the road to the end, the street was lined with people cheering. When my Garmin said 26.2 miles the time was 3:58 but I still had farther to go. @#$%*! When I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin it said exactly 4:00. I didn’t know what my official time was until they posted it. 4:00:23.
In the finishing chute I was grabbing everything. I took my pile over to the side and sat down. I was eating a bagel but it was making me sick so I just sipped on some Cytomax. When I could stand, without puking, I exited the chute and sat on the curb to wait for the rest of my group.
Country Music Marathon Race Report – Part 3: Aftermath and Reflections
I felt like crap when I finished. It took me forever to finally get comfortable. My legs were very restless and I was just achy everywhere. It was funny (but not) to see everyone hobbling around afterwards. Erin, her mom and sis, and I went back to the B&B, showered and headed out for some BBQ! After eating we headed back for some rest before it was time to go to the FREE Montgomery Gentry (RIP Gentry…) concert that was put on by the race and after the awards ceremony. Before the concert, we stopped for some ice cream. I got a big cup of red velvet and devoured it ALL! Surprised? It was cool to see the awards ceremony and I was just imagining myself up on stage : ) Maybe someday…. The concert was GREAT! Those guys sound awesome live and put on a great show. Everyone was still hobbling around at the concert and out in town and we’d just give each other the, you ran too, huh? nod. After the concert, we were all hungry…. AGAIN. So we ordered a big pizza and bread sticks!
Oh and here were my stats:
Reflections: With this being my first official marathon, I really didn’t know what to expect; it had been 3 years since I’d ran the distance. I ran a very conservative race which I am very happy about. I did want to get a sub 4 just because of my competitiveness with myself, but am happy with what I got. Although, technically, I did hit 26.2 mile at 3:58 on my Garmin. I pushed harder than I’ve ever pushed before and had nothing left when I finished. I would have been disappointed in myself if it were any other way. I had the determination to finish and I did. This was a huge accomplishment for me and I can’t wait to do it again! Pain is only temporary. Victory lasts forever!
I'm blooping! (Is it even still called blooping?)
It's only been five days and I already have no idea what I did before the jogging stroller. Thanks again to ALL OF YOU and especially fivestarks for organizing such a generous gift. I was a little scared to start - is her head stable? are the parts secure? is it put together right? WHAT IF IT FALLS APART?! - so I made DH do most of the pushing the first time on Saturday. Nobody was hurt in a dramatic stroller accident and L fell asleep so that's her vote of approval, I guess.
Sunday I ran for the first time in almost a year. DH had to go twiddle his thumbs at the auto shop so I thought hey, why not try? My plan was to NOT wear my Garminso it would stay more of an exercise-y walk/run in my head. What it ended up being was a 4.5 mile run with a few hills that I walked and some water breaks.
I've had my fair share of comeback runs and mostly they really just are terrible. Feeling out of shape, wobbly, sucking wind and getting cramps in my shoulders. Why shoulders? Who knows. This one... was glorious. I WAS RUNNING. NO ONE COULD SEE POST BABY BELLY BEHIND THE STROLLER. I DIDN'T FEEL TERRIBLE. And perhaps most importantly... ANOTHER RUNNER WAVED AT MEEEEEEE!!!
Sidenote: I didn't think through how the post-run was going to be... I'm used to being able to cool down a bit, take some fun pictures to put on Loopville, drink some water and take a nice long shower. Yeaaaahhh hahaha. No.
Even my PF-y foot got in on the action and quieted down after the run. I haven't heard a peep out of it since. I guess it got a good stretching. My lower core muscles were a different story and I spent the next two days grimacing every time I had to lift a leg with DH giving me the you started out too fast/far again look. I'm used to that look. I don't care.
But then I felt better and ran the same route again on Wednesday and it was equally as glorious and amazing. A tiny bit farther (I don't trust this Apple Watch for GPS) and a tiny bit faster (probably because of the warped distance) but still I'm taking it woohooo!! Here's L's second run face: "ok mommy, is this going to be a regular thing?"
Honestly I just want to have something to do that eats up some time during the day and if that lets me get back into shape and enjoy running again, it's a huge bonus. And so I'll label this as cautiously optimistic for me getting back into it. It'll be different and difficult, but when I heard L cooing and giggling and waving Bill the monkey rattle around as I huffed and puffed behind her at mile 3... sososo worth it.
Big race for the summer was whitewater canoe Nationals, https://opencanoe2018.com/, here in CO on the Arkansas river. As usual all my training plans went to heck, various family and work issues stopped play. So came the day and I had not been in my solo boat yet this year.. oops.
We had warmed up with a 3 day wilderness trip on the Rio Chama in New Mexico. The takeout of this trip is near Ghost Ranch where Georgia O'Keeffe lived and worked for many years. My older son cracked wise, "so if you feel a bout of American modernism coming on.. just yield to it !" He was off gallivanting in Maine and PA with his girlfriend. She took him to Rehoboth Beach and I thought of the Loop..
Here's younger son and I at the bottom of Aragon Rapid.
We'd camped the night before just above the rapid. Over the ridge a small fire was burning, started by lightning some time before. We had paddled into camp watching the plume of smoke and wondering how close to camp it would be.. right over the hill in fact. We had good rains so chanced it and camped anyway. Several times in the night I woke up smelling smoke, had to go out and check if we needed to hide in the river. Luckily not.
DW and I had color-coordinated our wardrobes for the trip.. not.
It's a gorgeous trip, highly recommended.
After all that, drive six hours back to Denver, unpack, repack, and head out to Buena Vista. DW and son stayed home for a couple of days, but I had volunteered to help with course setup etc for the race.
The fiendish ingenuity of the course designer created the most difficult slalom course I've ever paddled, way harder than the other two Nationals I have raced at. Eventually I figured out the first twelve gates but after that there was a sequence of downstream gates which beat me. Coming out of gate 12 was like going into a bad horror movie - terrible things keep happening faster than I can react to them for no good reason and I can't stop them.. This culminated in gate 16, dubbed "the suicide move", had to paddle straight at a rock in fast current and drop in behind it with a quick paddle stroke at the last split second. I did not manage this so usually just bounced off the rock and battled to stay upright.
No pictures of me racing, though DW did get a couple of me and #2 son racing in the Citizen tandem class. We won this by virtue of being the only entrants in the class.. ha. We still did have to run at least some of the gates and stay upright, which was not a given on this course. #2 son asked, "so is this one of those medals for participation I keep hearing about ?"
I had hopefully packed some running shoes, in case I could get in a run or two, but the days ran from 6am until 8 or 9pm, what with volunteer work etc. Also, note the high rocky banks - carrying a 65lb canoe up and down those banks was exhausting and it sure wore me out. I'm going to start a new fitness program, CanoeFit: Functional strength from lifting and carrying canoes up hills and over cactus on rocky trails..