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.

REdoing, REadjusting, REstrapping

Race report: Brabury Squall

An amazing day, the snow got all prettied by Mother Nature, who, surprise surprise, sometimes answers to Mr. Snowman himself.

confused? sorry.

It was lovely. The branches were heavy with new snow. The tap of my snow shoes along the ice reminded me to pay attention. The hills were minimal, the speed was slower than I wanted. The air was fresh, I WAS OUTSIDE, and I couldn’t see my computer. All in All, a great day.

The straps on my snowshoes slipped over the top of my shoes. EVERY SINGLE STEP. They rubbed my achilles, they pressed their miserable plasticness into my happy smart wool. They screamed “PAY MORE ATTENTION TO ME”. They demanded I stop, adjust, wiggle, shove my foot forward. I’d stand, sigh in relief, gasp for oxygen (snowshoe race!) and then run. I was free, I was playing in the snow, I was running, it was WONDERF_STRAP STRAP STRAP STRAP…. You see the point.

I realized i was way behind the goal, decided I’d just put a bunch of bandaids on after the race, and then started booking it. AND THEN the DEMAND won. Repeat, until about 2.5 miles, when I just had enough of fixing them, accepted in, and ran with the pain. I caught up to and passed a few people, but ran out of course to make my time closer to what I wanted. I wish I had reached that “F it” point earlier in the race.

A great day, filled with seeing all my TMR buddies, which was wonderful after the night before seeing all my MTC buddies. 


racing, thanking, shifting

Race report, MTC Turkey Trot (presented by the maine running company) (cause sponsors are great!)

Started well. Cold. cold. then windy. Wished I had on warmer tights, or shorts over my tights, or my down comforter wrapped around me, as i read the latest Jack Reacher.

The horn blared. I hit start on my watch. it flashed 88:88:88, indicated that it thought it was January 1, 2006, and off we went. Ok. No watch for this one. Whatever. I’ll just run by feel (famous last words). Mile 1: oh, it’s over already? clock said 9:53. i’ll take it.

Girls with water — and spoons. Why spoons? oh, to break the ice, because it’s 20 degrees. great. Yes, I think I will stop and drink some ice, because i’ve run almost 1.5 miles, in 20 degree weather, and clearly it’s time for a break.

mile 2 – sign: there it is, now i know we’ll turn onto Scott Dyer, there will be a hill, and then it will be over. Race desires picking up, feel like shedding a layer. Will catch up with Tami, and cruise to a nice finish, and then i’ll go inside. Inside, where the wind is missing, and people will shower me with hot chocolate, and patagonia warmth. Wait. Running. Right! a nice chat with the brother in law of the race director (sorry, I forget your name). WIND, wind wind. I see the hill. Trail monsters don’t think that’s a hill. I laugh in the face of hills. A ha. I’m at the top of the hill. Thanks volunteers!

Nice job Paul as you pass me, yes, it’s chilly! Wait. What is this? Is this another hill? But i thought there was only one? ok. Trail monsters don’t think that’s a hill. I laugh in the face of hi… why am I standing still? Hey (she shouts to herself, in the middle of a race, on a small hill, in 20 degrees, as people stream by her) STOP standing still. GO RUN. Find the next gear. Shift it into the next gear. (i have standard automobile, it’s amazing how many times a day I shift). SHIFT.

Why aren’t I shifting? Check in time: Legs- ready to shift. Brain- ready to shift. Heart: Why didn’t we shift 15 minutes ago? Lungs: NO SHIFTING ALLOWED. TAKING IN COLD AIR. SHIFT VETO’D. Brain and Lungs went back and forth for a while, with brain trying to circumvent lungs, and speed up legs. Lungs won.

Then the jacket became the most annoying thing in all the land, and I had to unzip it, and tie it around my waist. Then around my neck like a cape, then in one hand, then in 2. then Ian was there, and sensed the annoyance, saw the pleading in my eyes as I “raced” towards him (think that scene in a Fish Called Wanda with the steam roller – you know the one that was moving .1 mile per hour). He took the jacket, and said something along the lines of SHIFT, but in a supportive way. Lungs still vetoed this plan. I couldn’t see the finish line. I didn’t know how long my last minute push could last, and if it ended 50 feet short of the finish line, I would be sad.

Then I high-fived Victoria, dressed as the turkey so I could have the racing time. Then I finished. It was glorious that the running was over.

pacing, pushing, supporting

race report, back cove week 14 (of the series) -# 6 for me.

I missed last week, so had to do this one to show up in the series standing. Not a big deal, but a goal of mine, so I made the effort to get there, and race this one. I think I made some smarter decisions for this race. I had breakfast, and a mix of lunch foods. I made sure to drink a few pints of water throughout the day, and snacked, when I realized I was a bit hungry at 4:30.  I went back upstairs to retrieve my shoes and watch(dedicated (non barefoot) runners bring their shoes to races!). I got there with 35 minutes to spare, used the bathroom, and ran lightly for about 10-15 minutes, broken up, while I messed with stuff, retied my shoes, etc. I could have done fine without any of the prep, and none of it put me out, or required any extra planning or time.

I found Tami before the race, confirmed that we were crazy for paying for this stuff, and expressed some excitement. I asked her where the mile markers were for the 5K. This, along with remembering my shoes and watch, made the biggest differences I think. Also, the mile repeats Coach Reilly has me doing. 

Race started, watch started, off we went. Passed mile 1 at 9:28 – wow. Mile 2 at 18:58. Look at me, running even splits. It’s all Tami. She’s right ahead of me, or 2 feet in front. I’m that annoying person, just off her left side.  She seemed ok with it. She shouted off the miles when her watch told her. She told me when we reached 1/2 mile left. I told her to turn up her gear, and blast away from me (her average is about 30 seconds faster than my best). I’m  not sure if she turned up the gear, or let me stay with her, but I did. 1/2 mile. that’s 800 meters, 2 laps, I know how much that is now, thanks to track workouts. I know where the finish line is for the series. The watch said 27 or 28. I turned it up. We turned that last corner, I initiated a sprint to the finish (prematurely *GASP*) The clock said 29:0x when I could see it. I really wanted to finish with a 29:2x. the last sprint was longer than i thought. She finished 1 second faster (in the low key timing). 29:31 for me.

So pleased with the consistent effort, and 2nd best time of the series, and 2nd best time in my 5k history. 

Take Aways from 6 races in 14 weeks:

  • running the summer is hot, I do better when it’s less than 70
  • I do better when i have water. i stopped at 1 water fountain for a sip, and wish they would put another one in right before the bridge.
  • it’s been helping my distance understanding
  • it messed up my TMR Tuesday night runs (major CON)
  • it was great to see more runners in portland. every week I met a few new people.

building, enjoying, wincing

been building back up the speed, endurance, distance. It’s been hard, and pretty funny.

Race report: Back Cove 5K, August 14 – 

Got there with 15 to spare, ipod working, in the pocket, remembered the good headphones (that can control the volume without awkwardly reaching into my “stash pocket”). I warmed up, had some water, and lined up near the front of the middle.

still no watch during runs, so went by effort. 

Man, the effort was ON. I ran like my little legs had wings. It felt like it at least. I pushed. I maintained a pace. I felt like I was going to break 29:00. I felt like since I had gone “so fast” during the first bit, if I could maintain, it would be unbeatable.

Had almost convinced myself to try out for the olympics by the time I passed the guy in the yellow shirt, so close to the finish line. The clock came into view, my eyes focused on what was going to be MY NEW PR.

it was the slowest I’ve run a 5K in almost a year.  No idea how it happened. Glad I got out there, glad I pushed myself. Glad I laughed at it, instead of felt deflated.

Got in a great run around scenic coastal MA this past weekend, and last night impressed myself with some mile repeats.

lessons learned: when getting back to pushing hard during running, it’s best to be prepared for some soreness. 

attempting, quitting, calling

It’s been more than 24 hours since I quit. It’s my first quit. It’s the big DNF where there should be a race report. I’m mad at myself for quitting. I’m mad that I didn’t shake off the ankle turn, have a sip of water, buck up, and keep going. I didn’t do any of those things. I stopped. I stood still, I turned around a few times. My ankle hurt. I didn’t feel like fighting it. I imagined Christine’s voice in my head “keep going, it will feel fine”. And then I hit stop on the garmin. I was done. I turned around. I walked back to where the last volunteers had been. I limped. It hurt. Not anywhere close to the most pain I’ve been in, all those times when I got up, shook it off, walked for a minute, and then kept running.  But I didn’t keep running. I asked the fastest way to get back to the start/finish. I refused offers of help. It hurt.

Halfway back to the start / finish, I took off my bib. I didn’t want to be confused with the racers. I didn’t want to wear the badge I felt I no longer deserved. It hurt.  I was mad at myself for quitting. I was mad because I really like the shirt, and now, I’m not sure if I’ll ever wear it. 

By the time I got back to the start/finish, my limp had decreased. Exactly as imaginary Christine said it would. I just needed to walk it out. A fleeting thought of ” I’ll just go back, and run the 5 miles”. Stubborn. Brain and brain were fighting. Brain and pride, more like it. or pride and pride.

Ian approached me in the field. I was a mess. I was hurt, mentally now, not physically. He said the right things, in what I imagine now was probably the last kind of conversation he thought he’d a) ever have with me, and b) have that day, at a 5 mile race. He said “it wasn’t my day”. I guess it wasn’t. I thought back to before the race – no nerves, no dread, no fear. But not a lot of excitement either. I was calling it in, and apparently, I dialed a wrong number. 

I’ve been running and racing more this year than ever before. I’m teaching myself the difference between running and racing. I’m challenging myself to race instead of run. To push to uncomfortable when the gun goes off. It wasn’t my day.

I know the next steps. I need to ice my ankle, and ice my pride. Admit that it’s ok to stop sometimes. It’s ok to listen to what your body is saying. I need to go back to the race course, and run those 5 miles, maybe twice in a row. I need to say thank you to all the friends who drifted over to me after their finishes, to check if I was ok, and to Ian for the right words, and Scout and Squirrel for the understanding looks, and Emma for the support, and George and Ann for the hugs, and Sara, Mary, Christine and Kate for getting it, and then forgetting it.

Ended up sitting in the grass, taking pictures of all the racers as they came up the last hill, shouting encouraging words, and making a new friend. That doesn’t sound like a bad day at the races, after all.