Logging, laughing, laundering

In the final string of catch up blog posts, we come to: May 2014

The winter warrior program was great for a number of reasons – most of which involved consistency in my mileage, and some excellent running buddies. It morphed into running more times a week. My secret goal of being able to just go out any time and run 5 miles like it’s no big thing (seriously, that’s the level I’m at) was reached.  It continued.

The garmin 10 I received for Christmas, combined with a repurposed moleskin calendar to serve as my running log, and garmin connect, have all conspired for a higher weekly mileage than ever before. Coaching classes led to some actual training plans. Basically, it’s all coming together. I’m running more quality workouts, more mileage, and with some great friends (this is where the laughing verb is referenced).

Of course, all of this means more dirty running clothes, more running sneakers in my car than I care to admit, and a pretty comical “i can’t run today because i have no shorts” moment that was quickly undone when i discovered 2 pairs in my trunk.

Race report: Maine Running Hall of Fame 5K  - May 15

This was the first time when I realized why everyone hates 5Ks. I went out faster than I normally go, held on for mile 2, and pushed for mile 3. At least, that’s what it felt like. And lo and behold, a top 3 5K time for me. which is amazing, as it’s the beginning of the season, and there were some strange food decisions that week that could have backfired. It HURT. It was supposed to hurt. I felt like I was actually racing, and just… wow. 

Race plans:

Black Fly in my Eye Relay  - my leg: 3.4 miles- trail
Weekly Back Cove Series – 13 races – all 5Ks -road
Falmouth Five and Dime – 5 miles – Road
Bradbury Mountain Trail Series – 3 races – trail
Peaks Island 5 Miler – road
More things I’ve yet to discover – TRAIL!
Thanksgiving 4 Miler – road

Running, laughing, coaching

Following chronologically in the land of run blog catching up:

I went to the national RRCA conference (Road Runners Club of America) in Spokane. While there, I heard Don Kardong and Bernard Legat, and Deena Kastor speak. I also ran the “Lilac City Bloomsday 12K”. with 45,000 people. (Race director is Don Kardong, former olympian, past RRCA president, and very tall man).

Race report: Turns out I’m allergic to all the blooms in bloomsday, so ended up shuffling through, blowing my nose a lot. I finished. Not my best race, but I had a nice time running with SO MANY PEOPLE. Very well organized, a great way to see Spokane, and fun to hang out with the crew from California!

I also took the RRCA coaching certification course in Spokane! I’m just one bit of paperwork away from being an actual certified running coach!

Blaine (www.runtowin.com) wrote a great entry about the conference – I enjoyed it a lot, and travelling with Portland Runner Girl.

Raining, running, focusing

Ok – my bad. I have a blog. it’s back on. Catching up!

Race Report, TARC Spring Classic Half Marathon  - April 26, 2014

Heading in, my longest run was 7 miles, and most of my training had been on roads. Friends had been super supportive, and while I wasn’t 100% prepared, I was going to get it done.

A few days before the start, we learned it would be 40 and raining the entire day. Basically, my most hated running weather.

The night before, I saw a friend, and her kids playing in their driveway on the way home. I stopped to join them. Hide and seek, tag, general craziness – FUN! As I was saying goodbye, my hip SCREAMED. My back wailed. I limped. Got home, and couldn’t sit/ stand/ lie without pain. Mr. to the rescue, went to get me some arnica, I holed up with advil, ice, heat, stretching.

Race morning: the back/hip is sore, but about 70% better than the night before. Me and the Mr. drive down 2 hours to Weston, see all the monsters, set up a tent, wait in the bathroom lines, see so many familiar faces, and I milled about. What to wear? A hat? It wasn’t raining yet. Maybe it would pass!

All the monsters were hanging out under the tent, I was contemplating changing my socks, and then the announcer guy said “we starting in about 30 seconds” or something like that. So, no sock change. Honey blossom chews in the back pocket of the capris, a 10 ounce water bottle in my hand, a long sleeve shirt, and my unrace-tested cascadias. We’re Off!

The half marathon is 2 10K loops, and a bit extra that you run at the beginning. There is also a full marathon, a 10K, and a 50K going on at the same time. A few hundred people on 6 miles of trails, doing loops. I like to count how many times specific people pass me, as they do longer distances. It’s great, because I can go at my race pace, and not be 100% alone in the wood the entire day – which is nice during a race.

Loop 1: It started raining almost immediately. I ran along, found my pace, every now and then had a chew, and a sip of water. I was alone for a lot of loop 1, after the initial bits. Life at the back of the pack is quiet, nice, and filled with all the things about trail running I love. The trees, the sounds of the woods, focusing on where my feet are going to go.  I felt strong, like I was moving along, and at a pace I could maintain for 13 miles. I also felt wet. Starting around mile 4.5 I felt cold. I decided I would change my shirt at the halfway point. I paid attention the terrain, so I would recognize it when it came around the 2nd time. I was definitely going to change my shirt. Refill my water, and change my shirt.

The middle: Got to the aid station, having finished loop one, and saw my mom, the Mr. and then my dad, his wife, and my sister. I smiled a bunch so they would know I wasn’t in pain. They took pictures, a wonderful volunteer filled my bottle. I missed the food table, dad indicated his displeasure if the fact I hadn’t stopped to chat with him, and express my happiness that he was there. And then I was off… with the same soaked shirt, and no hat, and no snack. DAMN.

The 2nd loop: I knew what was coming, I knew it was runnable, I knew I was entering into uncharted mileage.  Things were going swimmingly. Somewhere around mile 10, the chatty girls appeared. Now, I’m sometimes a woman who talks to friends while we run on trails, but this was a whole other level. This was interupting my trail zen, my concentration. All of a sudden, the things that were annoying that I had been pretending were fine WERE NOT FINE. The chatty girls were the proverbial straw.  I had 2 options: speed up, or slow down. First I slowed down. That was fine, until we got to one of the hard to pass water features. I accidentally caught back up. Then I sped up. It was great. I surged at mile 11. Look at me, little miss racer. The surge lasted until about mile 11.75, when the surge abruptly stopped. Oh well.

Chatty girls passed me, and I let them. I had about 1.5  miles left, according to my garmin (spoiler – IT WAS LYING),  and I settled in to Finish. “i can do anything for a mile”, “I’m on target to PR”… YAY running! I decided I would turn on the rest of the juice at 12.5, and leave it all on the trail.

Imagine my surprise when it said “12.4″, and I turned a corner, and there was the finish line.

I zoomed through, cursed my watch, sattelites and my accidental “autopause” feature, which didn’t un autopause after a bit of an actual pause while I waited for Chatty girls to get the h out of the way at the water/ river.

And that was it. Soaked, I changed, cheered on the teammates for a while, hugged my family, thanked them for standing outside (under cover!) while I ran through the rain.

Eventually my shivering wouldn’t stop, and me and the Mr. bid farewell. I wanted to stay, but I just couldn’t get warm.

Excellent performances by a whole lot of friends – including a win from Danielle, a damn amazing run by Ryan, the always inspirational Emma (with Gnarlin’), as well as Ian, Ann, George, Nathan, Scout, Squirrel, and Kate, being awesome and smart… It was a Monster FEST! I feel like I’m missing someone, but it’s been about 6 weeks since race day, so I’m hoping for forgiveness.

Preparing, following, sneaking

The half marathon is 16 days away.  That isn’t the three weeks i’ve told myself. It’s really closer to 2 weeks. 2 weeks isn’t a lot of time. 

I’ve been running 2-3 times a week – not 5 times a week like my training calendar says, but not 0, and any non zero number is wonderful. (I like non zero pieces of pie)

Tuesday, Thursday, and then a weekend day. It’s been working well. The supportiveness of the runclub at MRC (FF MR) has been delightful, and I’ve opened up the “people I run with” list to include new “pace crushes” (love that phrase Heather Anne). I ran with Carol, with Tami, with Carmie, with Jen, with other people.

I was in a mood that matched with my running plan on Tuesday, to include 6+ miles. The weather was perfect, and I decided I would run a few before meeting up with the group (sneaking in miles, cause that’s how I roll). Tami decided to join me, and we ran about 1.4 before meeting back at the store, and up with the rest of the group.

It quickly became clear that my sense of direction has not improved, and I am continually  thankful that runners wear bright clothes, so I can see them up ahead, and for Tami, who tells me when to turn. I couldn’t figure out how we could make a loop – running from FF MRC on Marginal to Mackworth (well, almost to mackworth) – oh. it’s an out an back. right. I’ll just go with the running and leave the thinking to others. So basically, I ran part of the marathon course (new to me).

Felt great, won a pair of socks, avoided the rain (until the skies opened up while i was walking to the car). Not bad for a Tuesday.

Would like to get 10 on trails this weekend, so I can feel more prepared for the race. Will make it happen!

 

Sniffing, admitting, training

The past 28 days since my last post feel like a whirlwind when I think about it. While I was living through it – not so much. First there was lots of celebrations for a friend’s birthday, live music, work, and then there was THE COLD.

Before the cold, on a nice not super cold Sunday, I ran 7 miles through the old port, over the bridge, and around town. It was great, and my longest run solo for a while. I was pretty happy with it, and even ran into a wandering Monster, who I promptly invited over, and gave him a “barley soda”.

The run felt great, aside from the IT band. Rolling, stretching – I was feeling ok. Then THE COLD.

Spent the next 4 days out of it. Woke up Saturday morning unsure if I could do the last snow shoe race. Me and the sir went for a walk around the block, thanks to some very nice springy weather. I had to stop many times, and upon making it home, I took a nap. I was not up for 5 miles of snowshoe “breaker”. My hopes were dashed, but i still brought all the stuff to the race. I volunteered for registration and finish line stuff, and until about 5 minutes before the start, harbored hopes of saying “F it, I’m racing”. Mostly glad I didn’t – I really needed to kick the cold’s booty, and so that’s what I focused on.

All was put through the test yesterday, when I attended a spin class (for charity) that I had signed up for many weeks ago, pre illness. I turned out to be fine, and then turned out to be better than that, as I ended up joining the winter warriors for a 5 mile run.

So – feeling healthy again, and learned I could do a 5 mile run after a 50 minute spin class = pretty pleased with my legs and lungs.

6 weeks to the half marathon, feeling good!

hovering, committing, training

I posted to the book of faces that I was hovering over ultrasignup.com – and I was! I haven’t registered yet, but I’m ready. Going to do the TARC half in April, and then.. (THEN she says, with conspiratorial glance around the empty room) either the stonecat full marathon, or the big brad ultra 50 K.

cause if you’ve never done a marathon, might as well start with a trail one, or a race called “BIG BRAD” 50K….

*gulp (yes, room is still empty)

Excited. Excited to have some goals. Excited to try to figure out how to train for them. Excited to learn that I’ll become a certified coach in May.

I’m looking forward to putting in the work, and I’m looking forward to feeling strong.

Repeating, directing and stressing

As a co-race director of a 1000 person event that happens on Superbowl Sunday, the time after Christmas is not as relaxing for me as it is for others. The planning gets ramped up, the lists are made, the unchecked boxes stare at me. I want the race to be awesome. I want to be the best RD I can be, thinking about the details that I wish others would at their races, setting an example for the rest of the MTC, living up to the great heritage of a 32 year old race. While this happens, I disappear into phone calls, spreadsheets and emails. It’s one decision after another, and with a full time job, it edges out some personal time.

Usually I turn to running to have “me time”. To remind myself why I spend so many hours on the running community. To get out the stress, flesh out the ideas, keep myself healthy, and grounded, I “lace up”. Thinking about the upcoming snowshoe races, I’ve been trying to get out there more. If I can’t train on snow shows, I can at least get my mileage in. But I’ve been a woman without a training plan, and a long to-do list for the race.

Good news: The race is over! It was great, in my opinion, and the feedback has been mostly positive. I’m mad I missed a few details, I’m upset at some interactions I had with people who weren’t nice, and I’m sad we ran out of shirts. No one was hurt, no major issues. I haven’t heard about anyone going off course. We didn’t run out of pizza or coffee. We had the largest field of finishers in 32 years, and it was 40 degrees. I’ll take that, with a huge smile on my face. There are things to improve for 2015. The water line, the shirts, the cannon, the awards being sooner, and more. The other thing to improve for 2015 is my running along side the race planning. 

If one gives, the other suffers, and I’m responsible for getting myself out there. I feel better when it happens, healthier, and more in control. So it’s been SUPER cold – not an excuse. 

Ian said something to me right before the Turkey Trot – “there are hills, but not hills that a trail monster would consider a hill”. That might not be exactly what he said, but it’s how I remember it. I’m applying it here. There are many things to do (what others would consider to be a hill), but not such a big hill (to do list) that I can’t get up it, and think it’s easy. 

Race is over, stress has dissipated, running is ramping up, and it’s snowing. A good day. Hill repeats tomorrow, and maybe a snowy run tonight.

Still without a training plan… definitely need one … suggestions welcomed :)