Monday, December 29, 2008

2 miles

Yesterday I reallllly didn't want to run but I made myself do 2 miles, averaging 7:18 pace. I made myself go out and run, that's the point.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Warm, warm weather

How was I bundled up running in 4 degree weather just a few days ago and today I was exposing the white legs running in 67 degree weather? Holy moly it felt nice out today! What a teaser. It felt like a warm summer night, ahhh.

I just now went running for 50 minutes at the canal. I would have liked to keep going but it was too dark out. Afterward I wanted to do a lot of hill repeats but I stopped after 2 for fear of seeing a dead body floating in the White River. Oh well.

Yesterday I wasn't in the mood to run outside and so I attempted to run 10 miles on the treadmill. I felt like if Rob could do it, I could do it. Yeahhhhh right; we all know I have no discipline on the machine. I ran 2 miles then walked 2 minutes. Then I attempted to run another 2 miles, walk 2 minutes, etc. Well because I hate the treadmill so much I only made it 1 other mile and then called it quits. 3 miles are better than no miles, right???

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ninja Turtle? Ghost Buster? Randy?









Welp for some crazy reason I decided to go out for a run this morning, on the coldest morning yet, instead of the treadmill. It was 3 degrees out and it said it felt like -12 degrees. Holy moly.

This morning I was in the mood to go outside because:
  1. I wasn't at work
  2. I was in a happier mood because of #1 and because of Xmas coming
  3. I never get to run outside in the mornings
  4. No one would be outside to make fun of my mummy-looking-self
  5. I don't have pressing plans today so I could take as long as I wanted
  6. If Brian and his siblings could do it outside in the freezing, then I could do it outside in the freezing
I somehow made myself go 8.5 miles in that brutal weather and I somehow ran it in 1hr 11minutes, when it felt like I was running 15 minute miles. I was so bundled up I could barely move my legs; I had about 20 extra pounds on me.

I brought my Camelpak (I still get confused- is it Camelbak?) and tried taking a drink after 21 minutes of being outside. A freakin ice cube came out of it, no joke! All of the water in the straw was frozen! I've never seen that before.

Anyway, I'm glad I did it and it's all over. Now I just have to deal with a burnt-looking face. I forgot to cover up my cheeks against the wind; dangit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No Excuses Now

Well darnit. I was planning on going to WI this afternoon and returning on Monday. Since I haven't done any Xmas shopping yet and the house is a mess, I was going to spend that following Tuesday and Wednesday doing those things---then Thursday is Xmas and all that jazz. So my point is, I sureeeeely wouldn't have had time to get in any runs until the new year.

Welp I've cancelled my trip now due to weather and after today, I'm not expected back to work until 12/29. SOOO, you better hold me accountable and expect a lot of good runs out of me. No more slacking!

Ultraholic Blog Tag

Alright, Alan, thanks for the tag. I don't want to disappoint you, though...I'm afraid my answers won't be too interesting. I am now tagging Rob, Nick, Brian, DrT, Josh, and Red. If you've already been tagged before, just entertain me and answer the questions. :)

1. What was your 2008 running highlight and running low?
-My 2008 running highlight would have to be Dances with Dirt 50 miles-Hell that was in September. I love the DWD series and they make it easy to run 50 miles. I actually didn't get lost during this race and I had a BLAST running through the lakes and mud bogs, and speaking a few hours of Spanish with Bill. It was great. I also have to say that the Columbus Marathon was a for sure highlight since I finally qualified for Boston- woohoo!
-My 2008 running low would have to be Silverlake 50/50 in MI in September, because it was my first DNF... Ohh well.

2. What race are you secretly planning on doing (or contemplating) for 2009 but haven't made it known to the public....until now.
-Unfortunately I don't think I have a good answer for this one since I've made all of my thoughts public already. I'm a tiny bit considering running my first 100 miler in 2009- either Mohican or Burning River if I'm in town for it. I've been scared of the training that a 100 mile race will require; I'm scared of running 25 miles one day and 35 the next, on a regular basis----however, I think this morning I just had a revelation. A 50 mile training schedule says to do the same thing, run long distances back-to-back. During my "training", I never did back-to-back long runs and I was able to do 2 50 milers and 1 100k. SO what this means is, training is overrated and that I'll be fine for a 100 miler! :) :) :)

3. Where would you like create and direct an ultra that (to your knowledge) none exists?
I have no idea, considering I just stay around my little hometown and don't get out much. Maybe around the Grand Canyon. Do they already have one there?? Dangit, I just googled it and there's already a race there. Hmm...I'll keep thinking about this one.

4. What is your "primary" race for 2009?
Boston baby!

5. What is the most exciting thing about your upcoming race schedule?
Boston and a potential 100 miler.

6. List your planned races for 2009:
-Mayybbe Land Between the Lakes 60k/50m in March, mayybbe Fools 50k in April, Boston in April, DWD Gnawbone 50m in May, a 100miler? in June or August, DWD Hell50m in September, and 100m or 100k with the Pinckney, MI races in November (more info to come).

Friday, December 12, 2008

12 mile run

Woohoo! The pressure of the blog worked- I made myself go run yesterday after work! My goal was to run 10 miles and I ended up doing anywhere from 11.8-12 miles.

Normally I wouldn't carry any water for a 10 mile run but I decided to wear my Camelbak so I could get used to having that extra weight on my shoulders and back. I'm going to try to remember to wear it on all of my runs- short and long- for that same reason. In the end, I was really glad I had it on because I was drinking a bunch of water throughout my whole run.

I also brought a Gu along with me, too, so I could do things the "right" way. I took it after 30 minutes and the green apple flavor was so nasty that I gagged and spit some of it back up...and that's with drinking a ton in between each bite. YUCK! Maybe I should start bringing actual food during my runs, instead of Gu, so my stomach can get used to digesting it...and so I prepare myself for a *****potential 100 miler*****.

It was around 5pm, 5:30pm when I was out running and so it was getting dark quickly. I ran on the canal, so I was running under different bridges and buildings and what not. All of a sudden as I reached the end of the canal, I ran out into the open and it was seriously like someone just turned the light on. The whole entire sky was super yellow all over and it was so bright outside- it was beautiful!!! I kept on running and the sunset was so awesome- I'm mad I didn't have a camera. I stopped for a second and looked at all of the downtown buildings off the canal- the huge moon, the blue sky, the red/orange/yellow clouds----ahhh....I loved it.

So anyway, I did about 7.5 miles on the canal and then ran towards home to finish up 4.5 miles around a one-mile-radius park. That was the mentally challenging part. It was already dark and cold out, and I had already run a good amount- so I knew I would be tempted to stop after 1 or 2 miles around the park. I kept thinking of the Boston Marathon and of how I might do a ****100 miler**** and so I made myself finish out all of the miles.

I was running at a good pace the whole time and I'm proud I made myself do it. I actually didn't wake up this morning already feeling full. :)

Tecumseh Marathon Race Report



Short story:
It was snowing this year and the trails were icy.
Tiny icicle on Richard's beard:


I finished in 5:06, so I didn't beat my last year's time of 4:58. However, I am confident that I ran faster and harder this year but that I was just slower because of the trail conditions. Still had fun and will do it again next year.

Long story:
The race was on Saturday, December 6. Chris picked me up that morning around 6am, and I got to drinkin my traditional Monster drink- yummmmy. I always need one before a race. (What are your unique routines that you do before a race?)


Chris had been sick for awhile and was still sick on race day, but still wanted to attempt the race. Unfortunately I'm a half-germaphobe and so the hour and a half ride there was a little disturbing; listening to him hack up some mucus and all.
At one point we stopped at a gas station and right as he was about to get out of the car, he looked down and said, "what's that?". I looked at his pants and there was a huge glob of snot just sitting on his lap. That's disgusting. He must have spit it up some time and didn't realize it. I think I'm about to puke just typing about it, but you all need to know what I had to endure.

I hope you enjoyed that side story....now back to running. We arrived around 7:30am, checked in, and then realized that we got some grandpa-looking white sweatshirt this year. I'm sorry- but the shirts are ugly.

It was snowy and freezing outside and I wished I had worn more clothes, or at least a winter hat.


Last weekend I happened to be in Meijer's hunting aisle buying my husband some earplugs and I saw some some hand warmers- AWWWESOME. My funky Raynaud's hands always freeze, even after 2 seconds of being outside, so I thought these suckers would be perfect.
Here are my ugly hands. It's always the middle finger that gets super white.


The 1 hr bus ride was warmer than last year and not as boring since some guy let me read his newspaper. Note to self: next year bring hand warmers and a newspaper.


We got there and everyone had to pee...I had to snap a shot.

So anyway, I got to running and I was going slow but it was fine. Like I said earlier, a lot of the trails were icy, especially on the downhill, skinny single track parts. You can call me a wimp, but a lot of times I was seriously scared going down those curves! If you have a bad slip on any of those patches, you're going down the little hill/cliff- no 2 ways about it. One time I just purposefully went downhill on my butt because I was too afraid of falling. Haha. How come no one died out there?


Now I realized I need to just fork out $30 to buy some YakTrax.


Chris was wearing his and said he didn't slip at all. Lucky.

I spent a good amount of the beginning miles with "Echoguy" aka Brian. I somehow left him after mile 13 while he was taking pictures of everyone. Sowwwwy- not intentional! I spent the second half with another guy, Mike, and then left him 3 miles before the finish- not intentional either!

I felt like I was running a better race than last year. It was easier for me to walk/run up the hills this time and I know I spent a HECK of a lot less time at the aid stations than last year- I just grabbed a cup and kept going. It was freaking awesome to be stuck behind a big group of 10 runners for awhile, annoyed because I couldn't pass, and then pass them all in while they stopped forever at the stations. I loved it.

(But speaking of aid stations- for some reason I wasn't in the mood to eat much during the race. Besides a few pretzals and fig newtons, I only ate one Gu and it was seriously like hard taffy! For the first time I liked eating/chewing it. The Gatorade was icy and it tasted like a good slushy.)

I only passed people during the last half of the race. I kept telling myself that if I can see them, I can pass them. I remember reading or hearing a long time ago some guy saying that if you happen to catch up to other runners, you better pass them; don't start running at their pace with them. The fact that you caught up with them means that you're faster than them, so keep on going forward. It seemed to work and help me mentally to keep on truckin.

This is SO DUMB but I seriously got annoyed at seeing two older, slower-looking women in front of me around mile 23 or something. I don't even train at all so I don't know why I expect to be faster, but I just felt like hands down- these two women should never have been in front of me. And before that, around mile 18, I saw another girl in front of me who said that Tecumseh was her first marathon ever. She shouldn't have been in front of me.

So anyway, those two situations were a slap in the face and made me realize that darnit, I might actually have to move my body more than once a week in order to place higher. :)

I ended up finishing 193/483 (top 39%) while last year I placed 241/454 (top 53%). I also finished 3rd in my division and got a nifty award out of it. (I only later realized there were only 6 other girls in my division, Ha!)


They had good soup, sandwiches, etc after the race. I always hate the way you feel after finishing- I was sooo hungry but couldn't eat anything. I just stood there with soup in my hand, not able to take a bite of it. Darnit- should have forced some more chewy Gu down my throat during the race.

Unfortunately I later saw Chris and learned that he had to cut it short early. He was too sick and dizzy. Even after having puked up all of that thick, nasty mucus, it was too much to finish. His friend Richard, on the other hand, finished his first "official" marathon at 5:24. Good job.

Overall, I enjoyed myself and look forward to next year's race.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

4 Short Miles

When I'm at work, I always think about running when I get home. After driving 45 minutes from work to home, I always just want to sleep and not run at all. My mindset always changes and I think, "Ahhh...screw it. Why do I care about running?".

So that's what happened yesterday- I felt obligated to run but also wanted to sleep because #1, I have a cold and #2, sleep always sounds great. I comprimised and ended up sleeping a little bit and then I headed out to the park.

I ended up running 4 measly miles around the park (32:34) and I was happy I did so. I'm trying, slowly but surely, to actually start moving my body and getting outside. It wasn't even cold out...and I was just wearing a cotten shirt and jacket. I have no excuse.

I hope that if I continue to write about my little "training" runs then I'll be motivated to keep on going and getting faster. Hopefully I'll have good news for tomorrow's post!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tecumseh Disclaimer

Here's my pre-Tecumseh disclaimer:

Unfortunately I haven't run since 11/17. Ouch. I have been part-busy, part-lazy. All I will say is that I'm not expecting to have a great time for this race; I just want to finish. It'd be great to finish just one second before my last year's time of 4:58. Even though I haven't run in forever, I'll be depressed if I don't beat my previous time since that was my first run on a trail, and first run on more than one incline.

The race is one week from today...and maybe I'll get in one-two runs until then. Don't worry, I'll finally be done with school in a few weeks and my plan is that with all my new free time, I'll have a wonderful new training schedule for the first time. Woohoo!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Boston Marathon Attire

I know it's early but I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to wear for the Boston marathon and I know for sure that I'll be sporting the Colts while I'm there.

Would these be too harsh to wear? Although I love them (the shirts, that is), they don't sport the Colts at all- and that's the main goal.

Thankfully someone already asked the question about wearing the shirt and it looks like it might not be a good idea.

Even though this shirt below isn't made of runnable material and it will probably be freezing in Boston in April, I wanted to wear this tank top since it's in your face. Too bad they don't sell this item anymore. I'll keep on looking.



Please let me know if you see anything worthy of wearing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recap of Races Cont...

It's been awhile since I've recapped this year's races and so now's the time, before I forget everything. This is a continuation of my previous Recap of Races from the beginning of the year.

Kettle Morraine 100k- 6/7/08- This race was 31.5 miles out and back on trail. The trail was easy to follow, so you needed conversation to keep you interested. There were longer hills, although not too high, that required more hill training than what I prepared for (big surprise). Tons of rocks and roots that made your feet hurt at the end. I would do this race again only if I wanted to run this distance at a halfway-nearby place...otherwise I kind of got bored with the path. Oh ya, it's SUPER hot and muggy in June.

Silverlake 50/50- 8/23/08- I intended on running the 50 miles and I only made it about 17 or something. I didn't finish because of my own personal desire at that time- it did not have to do with the course. The race consisted of 4 12.5 mile loops on trail. There were a bunch of small hills that you could run up; nothing too challenging. The course in itself was interesting and kept you interested; or at least you had to pay attention to what you were doing. Speaking of- my main complaint was that the trail was open to the public and bikers would speed down the hills from the other direction. It was scary because a lot of times, you couldn't tell a biker was coming because of the turn...be careful! I would do this race again- or at least the 50k portion. Oh ya, the finish line is at the beach so you can rinse your sweaty body off afterwards! Yum.

Dances With Dirt- Hell- 50 Miles-9/6/08- I loved this race, as I loved the other DWD-Gnawbone race. It has a random trail path that you have to try to follow the whole time and pay attention to. You should expect to get really lost and should consider yourself very lucky if you don't. There are big and small hills- but it's fine if you walk up them. You go through nasty lakes, swamps, and mud bogs. It's a lot of fun!! Expect to get dirty and stinky.

Akron Marathon- 9/27/08- This is a paved race with a lot of long, gradual hills. There is a section with what seems to be a 3+mile long hill around mile 16-19 or so. There are some smaller hills near the finish line, too. Be prepared. The race is a good challenge and tests your strength. If I'm interested in squeezing in another marathon for the year, I might consider doing it again. Knees were sore afterwards, partly due to the pavement.

Columbus Marathon- 10/19/08- Flat, PR-able, paved, partly-downhill marathon. This is the race to run to qualify for Boston. The course runs through the city and through residential neighborhoods. Actually to be honest, I don't think I would have liked the race as much if I wasn't trying to qualify for Boston or to PR. It's nice and all but nothing is exciting about it- it's just a flat course.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"Easy" run on pavement

For some reason I actually wanted to go for a run when I got home from work today, despite the ugly, gray, windy, snowy, 27degree outsideness. (How do you know if you're supposed to write "gray" or "grey"? I typed in "grey" and it made me capitalize it. I though "Gray" was for the name...It's like "worse/worst, farther/further, who/whom, caca/kaka"... you never know which one to use). I probably made myself go run because every Monday I eat a ton for dinner at the n-laws and then feel like crap on Tuesday morning. Now I won't feel so guilty.

Unfortunately I only had time for a 45 minute run since it gets dark so early these days. I had a good run though. Speaking of- How come I'm all happy that I ran for 45 minutes? Because it's the most training I've done in a long time?

Anyway, it was cold out but surprisingly nice and refreshing after a few minutes. If only I could remember ahead of time that once you get going, it gets warmer--then I'd not dread these winterish runs so much.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the beauty of trails almost forgotten...

You all will be very pleased to hear that I finally got a decent workout in yesterday. I went to the gym and did about 30 minutes on the Stair Master and then about 30 minutes of weights/other exercises.

I then left and finally went to Eagle Creek. I ran a stretch of 10minutes 4 times. I have to admit, I stopped for about 1 minute after each stretch- I was seriously tired. NOW, I'm blaming part of my tiredness on the fact that I had just gotten done with the weights/stair master thing and part of it on my own lack of training.

But holy moly- I had totally forgotten how much harder/different trails are than plain ole pavement. It's nuts! I can't remember the last time I ran on trail- probably the DWD-Hell in September.

It felt great to get out on the trails but it made me sad that they weren't super easy for me. I forgot you have to jump around, climb things (well, not really), dodge stuff, pay attention; all that jazz.

I like this blogger's summary of trails vs pavement. He talks about the common things trail running includes- such as you'll run slower on trails, you better slow down or you'll fall, no cars, etc.

Speaking of, I had a couple of close calls yesterday on the ankle rollovers. Almost every inch of the trails were covered in leaves and so I was very lucky to not have fallen on over the millions of rocks and roots.

So anyway, yesterday's run was enough motivation to get back out there more. We'll see what this afternoon brings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Summing up 2008's Running History

It's been hard to maintain my motivation/mileage but I've just about completed a whole year of running/races without a break. As you can see from my blog, I used to just average 1 little race a year. I don't believe it was until I finished my first trail run, Tecumseh, that something hit me...
I could actually keep running year round and I would therefore never have to "train" for a long run. I would keep my endurance up and forget about the 18+ weeks of training for one yearly marathon. Brilliant.

So, that's the plan that Chris and I have stuck with this past year and after Tecumseh, we will have completed 10 races in 2008. Our plan worked, but with a downside to it.

We ran a race almost once a month of marathon+ distance and then ran shorter runs in between.
This was great and definitely took off all pressure and nerves that you get before a run. Normally if you only train for one big race a year, you're so pressured to do well during that run that if you don't, you'll hate yourself forever.
  • That's what happened to me after my first marathon in 2004, the Chicago Marathon. I expected to run at least a 3:30 since that's what I had trained for. I was so pressured to keep that pace and so worried about it that I had negative energy and ended up running a 3:47. After the race, I was disappointed with myself for a long time.

So anyway, the downside to Chris and my plan was that we didn't put too much mileage in inbetween the races. I don't think I ever ran more than 10 miles at one time inbetween the races- maybeee 1-3x at most. On the other hand, that's what worked for us. We're both busy people (like everyone else) and for me personally, having an intense weekly running schedule was not my top priority.

I don't know what 2009 will look like. The majority of the races in 2008 were all new to me. What do I do next year, just run the same ones again? Is that as fun? I know you'd recommend me to find other races elsewhere, but I am trying to save a little bit of money. Sheesh.

Right now I'm pretty sure I'd like to run a 100 mile race, perhaps the Mohican Trail Run next summer. If I'm cutting back on the number of races I do (although I haven't decided that for sure), that means I'll be forced to discpline myself to get in the miles and train. Dangit...then here comes that pressure I talked about again- Training for one big race.

We'll see. We're still in November and who knows what's to come...heck, I could break my ankle and be screwed for the next 5 years for all I know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sluggishness

I'm trying to force myself to exercise more but it's getting hard...and I keep eating sweets in the meantime- DANGIT.

I realized I wasted 25 minutes yesterday on the elliptical. I never get on it and I decided to get a different cardio workout yesterday. I chose the "hill workout" but didn't select a level since I didn't know how to. I noticed my legs were moving really fast and I was sweating a ton but after 25 minutes, it said I only burned about 60 calories. Once my friend came in the room I realized it's not a workout at all if you don't select at least a level 4 or something. No wonder it was so easy. Sooo....I got the heart rate up but it was a waste of my time. And even though I did it wrong, I still think I was burning more than 60 calories. Come on, I'm probably burning 100 right now by just typing this.

After the elliptical I went to the treadmill for just 2 miles. I know, it's dinky work. I hate the treadmill.

And I still haven't done a trail run for awhile now....dangit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Newly Found Post-Running Awesome Snack



My friends are in Chile now for 4 1/2 months and they left behind their big dog, Kaiser. Unless I visit him during this time, I've been told that this poor dog will not get walked at all. Of course feeling guilty, I took him on a run this afternoon at the canal.

He had tons of energy and so he pulled me super fast in the beginning. I didn't like it but I was keeping up. Literally after 10 minutes, the dang dog got tired and started walking! How annoying! Don't dogs know how to pace themselves? So since I didn't want him to die on me, we walked some so he could catch his breath. For the next 10 minutes we walked some, ran some, etc.

It's too bad that dog's out of shape because it was perfect weather and started to sprinkle, too. I wanted to at least get in 30 minutes of running but it didn't happen.

So anyway- to relate to the title of this post- I came home and I was bored. As usual, I stand at the freezer and fridge and expect some great, magical food that I haven't noticed the past 2 weeks to jump out at me. Nothing looked good but since I was bored, I felt like I had to eat something. I grabbed the bag of frozen blueberries and my life has been different ever since.

YUMMMMMY- that's my awesome new snack. Eating the blueberries frozen somehow hit the spot after a run. I've always loved blueberries but how come I never ate them frozen after a workout? They're refreshing, half-way hydrating, healthy, and delicious. Put them in a little bowl and eat them.

I just finished off the bag and since I'm still bored, I'm going to go make chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Summer Buckeye Trail---Mandatory Community Service???

I've never run the Summer Buckeye Trail but I have run the Winter Buckeye Trail (which is unfortunately already sold out). I had a really good time at the winter race and was looking forward to running the summer race in 2009. I heard that the summer trail was more challenging, but a lot of fun.

So anyway, I just got an email (see below) stating that there are new qualifications for the summer race. They are requiring (although I don't know how they'll keep track) each runner to perform 3 hours of volunteer work- either by volunteering during a race or by doing other work at a park.

I'm in a dilema. On the one hand- if you are lacking volunteers or if you just want people to help out more to be a good citizen and what not, I can see why you would want to make these 3 hrs be mandatory in order to participate in your race. On the other hand- this race is 5hrs+ from my house and it is very unlikely that I will drive to OH on a separate occasion to work for 3 hours. Therefore from what I understand, I'd be ineligible to run this race.

Here's the email:

"Summer Buckeye Trail 50K – New Qualifications for 2009
Every participant that enters into the Buckeye Trail 50k for 2009 will have to fulfill 3 hours of volunteer duty
This can be done through volunteering at a running event (road or trail) and/or volunteer hours at a local park
Many events and parks have opportunities to volunteer
Volunteer forms will be posted along with the Buckeye Trail registration form in the spring of 2009
If you have any questions please email Vince: vince@verticalrunner.com"

Is this normal? Do you think they'll really get the same amount of participants running and volunteering to work the 3 hrs?

I know 3 hours is not a long time at all and that so many people always volunteer their time to help out during the races, for free and in the cold. Butttttt....why can't I just pledge to volunteer at some other random race that's near my house so that I can still run the race?

Vamos a ver...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekly Mileage

Well I made myself go to the track last Monday to do some sprints. I don't know what distance the track is- I assume 4 laps to a mile (whatever that equals out to). So I probably sprinted 100 yards or something- the length of one side. I did that 8 times in about 20 seconds each time. It was only 20 seconds of my life but I still hated doing them; isn't that weird? 20 seconds is such a short time to not just make yourself do a million of them. Oh well, you have to start somewhere.

Yesterday I probably ran about 7 miles downtown. That reminds me- I haven't run on trail in a long time- dangit! Unfortunately it's been a lot more convenient lately to run on pavement than to drive to a park for trails. My next trail marathon, Tecumseh, isn't until December so I'll have a little time to get back out there.

This afternoon I'll try running a little bit, and then maybe get some hill repeats and/or sprints in, too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boston Marathon More Pain Than Gain?

I'm still trying to finalize my plans for Boston and decide on plane tickets, housing, etc. I asked my dad if he'd be interested in going with me and said, "Are you sure that's not the weekend of Pascha?". Dangit! We checked a calendar and sure enough, Pascha is April 19th! I'll be darned!

Technically we celebrate Pascha on Saturday night, April 18th...so I could try to find a church out there and attend the service. I'd sleep in all day Sunday, wake up for the Expo, sleep, and then run the race on Monday. That seems like a dud...but it might have to happen.

My dad also reminded me that out of all the huge cities he's driven in before, Boston was the most difficult to navigate around. He said he was lost many times and the roads are all weird.

Is this true? How do 25,000+ runners/fans survive Boston each year when the majority of them are from other states/countries? Do they just take taxis everywhere? Any advice/enouragment?

Winter Running Clothes Suck

I've made it out for a few runs in the cold this past week and these darn extra layers of clothes don't make it fun. I already feel like some slow, fat person running---they just weigh you down.

Then it always is hard because you don't know how many layers to put on and if you'll get hot or not. I started out for a run yesterday all bundled up and then stripped down the layers after about 5 minutes. Ahhhhh the troubles of my life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back up and running...

I went out yesterday for the first time since Columbus Marathon. I started running and just wasn't in the mood to do so, so I walked/ran/walked/ran for a little bit. I decided to do some hill repeats and then I did only about 5 45 second sprints.

Why do I hate sprints? It was seriously super hard for me to make it 45 seconds; I kept looking at my stopwatch. Do any of you have any advice for doing sprints? Will it be easier if I go to a track to do them? I bet doing a 45 second sprint doesn't even do anything for me...it's too short of a distance.

Instead of doing a sprint, should I just run a little faster than normal but not super fast? I think I hate them because I don't like pushing myself to run really fast for that long of a time (yes, 45 seconds is a long time). So maybe if I just run a little slower I'll enjoy them more, but then does it defeat the purpose? Ay ay ay

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finally BQ'ed and PR'ed- Columbus Marathon Review

Short story:

I finally qualified for the Boston Marathon- 3:34. I beat my 2004 PR by 13 minutes and I'm pretty happy. The course was awesome- very flat and a lot of downhill portions. The weather was great and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Longer story:

I woke up Sunday morning and had to scrape frost off my car. It was pretty cold in the beginning but it later warmed up- perfect running weather.

Somehow I just knew I would qualify at this race. Two days before the race I had a dream that I qualified, but I forgot to put on my chip so my time wasn't recorded. Then the day before the race, I had a dream I qualified and all was well. It sounds dumb but those 2 dreams actually gave me confidence during the race that I was going to make it.

I didn't know how to plan out my pacing for this race. I had thought about starting out with the 3:30 pace group and then later slowing down to the 3:40 group when I was tired. I was afraid to do that because I didn't want to kill myself early on in the race, but I knew I didn't want to start out with the 3:40 group. Too much pressure.

So anyway, I lined up to start with the 3:30 group. Before the start, I randomly saw Bill there. He was walking the marathon and finished in 5:08- 3rd place! Anyway, the gun went off and the 3:30 group was already out of sight. I ran the first mile in 7 minutes and that group was probably about 25 seconds ahead of me. Way too fast.

Sooo, I just put on my music and was going to try to run a nice pace on my own- always staying ahead of the 3:40 group. And I did- I somehow maintained an 8, 8:05 minute pace the whole way. I kept on feeling good so I kept on trucking.

I think 2 main things contributed to my good run (considering I had only run 3x in the previous 3 weeks).

  • Number 1- my music. Before the race on Saturday, I put together a new "Clara running playlist" to get some good, upbeat songs for the race. It consisted of some Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Blues Travelers, Dave Matthews, Dixie Chicks, Spanish music, etc. The music seriously helped a ton.
  • Number 2- I took Chris's advice and sugared up during the whole race. I normally will eat 3-5 gus during a marathon and this time I ate 7. Every half hour I took an S!Cap and a Gu. I never felt sick and I actually had a better post-race recovery. I wasn't even hungry.

I had read reviews on the race beforehand about the amount of hills on this course. Half of them said that the course was flat, and the other half said it definitely wasn't flat as advertised. I was expecting the worst and I found the course to be super flat. I am one who hasn't done a hill workout in forever and I hate incline, and the course seemed perfect. There were maybe 2 small inclines that lasted less than .3 miles, and that was it.

There was surprinsingly a lot of downhill and that was super nice. It was especially nice having the last .2 miles into the finish line be downhill.

Anyway, a good race all in all. I'm glad I don't have to spend more money on an out of town race just to try to qualify again.



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A good, wet run

I finally ran yesterday for the first time since the Akron Marathon (and I wonder why it's hard for me to qualify for Boston...). I should have been studying but I had to take advantage of the rainy weather; and my next race,the Columbus Marathon, is approaching quickly.

I ran about 5.5 miles at about a 7:35 pace and hope to get out there again this afternoon. Since I know you're all interested, during my run I felt a gnat go right down my throat and it felt like it was stuck there. It was gross and made me start coughing a lot. For the rest of my run and even when I got home, I kept coughing because it felt like I hadn't swallowed it completely. Sure enough, after coughing a million times, that darn little gnat came up in my spit. Isn't that gross? I've never actually brought an insect back up- that should be a talent.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Road Runner Akron Marathon Report

First things first, I didn't qualify for Boston at this race. I finished 3:52- my 2nd best marathon...but I didn't make 3:40. Oh well.

I drove to OH Friday afternoon in about 4hrs 45mins. I went to the expo, to the hotel, and was in bed by 7:17pm. I woke up at 4am, got all of my race gear together, and got to the race around 5:30am even though it didn't start until 7am. I thought I was going to get lost and it would be really crowded at that time. Turns out I was only lost for about 5 minutes- trying to figure out how to walk from the parking garage to the start line- and no, it wasn't crowded until about 6:15am.

I haven't been to a bigger race in awhile so it was kind of fun to remember what it was like. They had a big tented area where runners could get free Gu and bananas and water, which was nice. I had a jacket, pants, and gloves on in the beginning and was still cold, but somehow it warmed up very quickly once I started running and it was good weather.

The race consisted of a marathon, half marathon, and a relay. They said there were 10,000 people all together but I don't know how many of those were doing the marathon. I finished 404 out of 1582 so either some people dropped out or the majority of the runners made up the relay teams and such.

So anyway, my goal was to try to qualify for Boston at this race. Women my age needed to run a 3:40 marathon, which is about an 8:24 pace. Why do guys my age have to qualify in 3:10? Even though that's WAY too fast for me, I think it's dumb that the men's time is 30 minutes faster. If I were to have qualified, I was thinking that I almost wouldn't be as proud to have qualified because I would know that it was so much slower than the guy's time. Whatever.

For the first time, I wanted to try to run with a pacer. They had a pace group for a 3:40 finish so I thought I'd give it a try and stick with this group. I knew it would add more pressure to me to stick with this group, and that I HATE pressure during my runs, but I thought I'd be strong enough to keep it up- mentally and physically.

I was at the start line and I was looking all over for the pacer. It was about 6:45am and I still couldn't find him, even though I was standing in the "8:15 per mile" section. I kept looking behind me to see if I was in front of him. I didn't see him the last time I looked behind me so I turned around and somehow the pacer, Roger, popped up 1 inch away from me on my right side. That was good luck. I wanted to be right by his side, and not at the back of the 3:40 group.

Ironically enough right when the gun went off, the "3:40 group" sign came off the pole that the pacers carry and fell down before we even crossed the start line. Right when we all started running Roger scrambled around, against the grain of runners, and thankfully someone happened to pick up the sign and gave it to him. That would have sucked to lose the sign that everyone follows before the race even starts.

As I mentioned, I hate being pressured for time during a race. I tend to be stubborn and quit if I am pressured and if I think I can't make it. Sooo, I kept telling myself beforehand and during the race that I needed to have good mental energy and I was going to enjoy myself, and not worry about my time.

The first 10-11 miles flew by so quickly. There were a good amount of people out cheering and a few little HS bands and some of the classic weird/old people bands. Something I hadn't realized before the race was that there were going to be so many hills. The course description said "a rolling course..." but I didn't pay much attention to it. Then I was deceived because before the race, the race director sent out an email stating that we needed to practice our hills because there were big hills at mile 16 and 23 (or something). So, I wrongly assumed that the whole course was pretty flat except at those 2 points.

Anyway, I was by Roger's side in the beginning and then for about 7-8 miles, I was about 10 seconds in front of him. I was feeling good and it actually helped me mentally to be in front of him. Whenever I was at his side or even 1 foot behind him, there was a different pressure of having to stick right with him and not get behind. But when I was in front, even if it was just a little bit, I didn't see him and I was able to run my own race.

I don't have anything to compare Roger to but I liked him as a pacer, for the most part. :) He would talk some, give us some tips about not zig-zagging and taking extra steps around curves, and so on.

He would call out each mile and what our time was for each mile. That was fine with me. However, the time that he kept yelling out seemed to be around 8:13-8:20 per mile. Even though it's safe to go a little quicker than the 8:24/mile, I was seriously annoyed that he was going 10+ seconds faster per mile. I knew I could do an 8:24/mile but I didn't sign up to do 26 8:13/miles. I could tell I was getting a little out of breath at some points but I tried not to worry about it.

So as I said, practically the whole course consisted of long, gradual rolling hills and they were getting to me. I kept expecting Roger and the group to walk up some of the hills since that was what I was used to. It was getting tough for me to keep up a 8:20 pace.

At around mile 17 or 18, we were on the road in some kind of woody area and it seemed like we were going up a 2+ mile hill. In the beginning it was hard but I kept waiting for it to level out or go downhill. It never happened and the incline kept on coming. The group started to get a little ahead of me but I didn't worry to much since surely the hill would stop soon and I could catch up.

Unfortunately the group kept getting a little farther and farther ahead of me and I couldn't keep up. I knew that I couldn't keep running up these hills at that pace and so that's when I kind of gave up on the qualfying goal. I started to walk up the hill some, now that I figured I couldn't make it.

At that point, I seriously wanted to just quit. I didn't care that I only had 6-7 more miles. The only reason I wanted to run this race was to try to qualify for Boston. Since I knew I couldn't do that anymore, I wanted to stop. Butttt...I decided to keep on trucking because I didn't want 2 DNFs.

I kept on running and I continued to run some, walk up hills, run some, etc. The end of the race was fun. They had you run through some tent and then enter onto the baseball field with tons of people in the stands cheering for you while you cross the finish line. It looked like the Olympic marathoners finishing on that track. It would have been awesome to finish like that if I had known I was going to qualify for Boston. :)

I felt kind of gross after finishing. I never like the way you feel after a hard race. It's like you're so hungry but you can't eat yet. You just feel sick. I sat down after the race and decided to just head on home. After about 1 hr on the road, I stopped at McDonalds and slept in the parking lot for 30 minutes...then continued on home.

I didn't like the big race scene where you try to run fast, but something about it was attractive. I probably would have liked it if I was good at it. If I was a faster runner who could run up hills fast, I might have enjoyed it more (that's obvious though, right?).

I wonder if I'll ever qualify for Boston. A girl I was talking to said yesterday was the first day that if you qualify for Boston, it'll qualify you for the '09 and '10 race. I don't know how long that period is for though.

What I think I need to do is next time, I'll try to run with a 3:10 group. Once I get discouraged and think I can't keep up with them anymore, I'll start slowing down and eventually meet up with the 3:40 group without even meaning to. Perfect.

Overall, Akron was a good race and when I think about it (of course the day after the race, not the day of), I kind of liked running fast for a long distance for once. It felt good to actually push my body and not lazily run a race. Maybe I'll try it more often.

Oh ya, my knees killed me yesterday after the race. It was kind of scary how bad they hurt. It felt like if I continued to run road races, my knees would fall apart and I'd need replacements. Luckily they feel better today but I certainly don't like my legs feeling like they're not up to par.

Now I'm going to think about what races to do for October. Maybe I'll do the Indy marathon but I want to make sure it's flat so I can go fast, and that it's also halfway entertaining so I don't get bored out of my mind and want to quit.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mileage/Thoughts

  • Measly 3 mile run last Thursday
  • Good 9 mile run last Friday afternoon
  • Better 9 mile run yesterday- It was so fun running downtown with the Irish fest stuff, and seeing everyone tailgating before the Colts game all dressed up (despite the sad results last night)
  • Mayyy run a few miles tonight...

On a separate note...when I was watching the Road Runner course video, I noticed that the part on the canal/trail path was pretty narrow. Dangit. I hope the 6,000 runners will be spread out enough by that time (I think at mile 13) so that we're not all clogged up and crowded. Just have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Preparing for Road Runner

Now that I think about it, I don't think I've run that much since dwd. Not a big surprise. I believe I took a week off after the race, but I can't remember. When I started up again I felt good and I had a couple nice 45-1hr runs.

Why has the weather been perfect lately with no humidity on the days that I don't really feel like running? Dangit! The past couple of days I debated running and knew I should but I just couldn't make myself, so I didn't. Hopefully I'll go this afternoon.

I'm looking forward to this race. I haven't run a "big" race in awhile and it'll be fun with a lot of runners and bands and fans and all that good stuff. I bet I'll be more sore from running 26.2 miles on pavement than the 100k on trail.

Speaking of, here's a video of the marathon course:


Since Chris is unfortunately suffering from a huge arm that looks like a lobster claw that's infected with poison ivy and filled with puss, I'm going to this race alone. Chris and I have done every race together this year except this one. Sooo....I'll be a little bored and lonely on the long 5 hr drive and I'll be forced to stay awake while doing so.

Also since I'm driving alone, I have to find all of the directions myself and know how to navigate around good ole Akron, OH. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but this has seriously been the biggest challenge for me. I always hate trying to navigate by myself and I hate looking at maps. Usually Chris does all of this junk.

I literally spent 2 1/2 hrs this morning figuring out how to get to the race expo, then to the race parking area, then knowing how to avoid blocked off streets, then directions to the start line, then back to the parking spot from the finish line...then to the store that gives you free shoes, although the store's located on the actual path of the race...ay ay ay. I think I finally have everything planned out. I hate getting lost so please wish me luck that I survive.

Speaking free shoes, this race actually gives you a free pair of Brooks shoes if you finish the race in under 6 hrs. Sweet. They even happen to have the exact same pair I always run with anyway- Adrenaline GTS. Josh always says they're not free since you pay $x for the race but oh well, I'm still happy.

I'm hoping for some good weather and a great race....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

DWD- Hell 50 Miles


Bill and I afterwards.

Well all I have to say is that this race was awesome. It took me 11:18 to do it. I have decided that I love the Dances With Dirt series. After I finished DWD- Gnawbone I was hesitant about running the Hell event. I liked the Gnawbone course but I was really frustrated getting lost for 3+ hours and I didn't want it to happen again. Somehow I forgot about that and I decided to add another race on and run Hell.

I wish I would have had a video camera, picture camera, or even just a voice recorder with me the whole time so that I could have remembered everything about the race and all of the funny/crazy moments of it. All that to say that this blog won't be able to capture each leg of the race but I'll try my best.

The race started at 6:15am and I don't remember the temperature but it was somewhere around 55-65 degrees. It was pretty chilly beforehand but I decided to still wear t-shirt/shorts for the race. It turned out to be PERFECT running weather.

The race started in the dark and of course everyone had their little professional headlamps and looked all prepared. I didn't have any kind of headlamp or nice flashlight to run with and I didn't feel like buying one since I hardly run in the dark. Buttt since I knew I needed one for the first 30+ minutes of the race, I brought my 1980 12 pound yellow flashlight that had a dimmed light you could barely see.

We started out running close together and the runner in front of me and the runner behind me shun more light on my path than my piddly little light did. Soo...luckily I didn't fall or anything and I could see good enough until the sun came up.

Since I didn't finish the last race and I ran a little too hard in the beginning, I made sure I started out very conservative this time. I was running at a nice, slower pace and I kept telling myself that I can always go faster later on if need be. I'll have 10+ more hours to do so. However it was so hard for me mentally when people would pass us early on. I hoped they were just running the 50k and I tried not to worry about it.

Chris and I surprisingly ran the first 10 miles together so it was nice to have familiar conversation. We weren't wet or nasty from this section yet. It was mainly on a trail path, some sand, some gravel road paths and only some little hills.

One guy said the whole course we were running through was covered in poison ivy and that he gets it every year after this race, and then another guy said he doesn't get it from this race. I've never gotten it before (knock on wood) so I reallllly hope it doesn't show up in the next 1-2 days. It would suck if I did because our whole bodies were covered in brush and junk the whole day and my legs are all cut up from the thorns.

The aid stations were nicely planned apart. Some were 2.8 miles away and some were 8 miles away. I tried really hard to eat different foods that I normally don't. I had some oranges, twizzlers, a couple small potatoes, and whatever else. Luckily they didn't upset my stomach. I tried to keep my CamelPak continually full so I wouldn't notice the extra weight of it if I filled it up after being empty for awhile. It seemed to help.

So before the first drop zone, maybe around mile 15 or something, we had to cross a little creek that was maybe 1.5 feet deep. It felt nice to get in but then our shoes were of course heavy and full of nasty gravel and crap.

Afterwards we had to seriously climb up this big, tall section. I didn't use my hands but it wasn't just a steep incline, it was like a tall mud wall you had to climb up. My knees were lifted so high and I realized my thigh muscles aren't as strong as I thought they were. (Chris seemed to have no problem during this section...he's unique)

We then had to get into a big creek and go through it for .25 miles. The water was up to my knees and even though I had my bag of salt in my hands to not get wet, they got wet and all melted together. So I had this nasty, stinky water in my bag but I didn't want to get rid of them because it was all I had. The salt leaked outside the pill and it was so gross to eat them later on. I prayed I wouldn't get some disease from them saturated in crap.

So about the water..it was really nice to get in and I just loved having the course be different than your typical loop and it was just fun to get cooled off like that. I guess last year the water was a lot higher, up to people's armpits.

Soon after the water came the first drop bag zone- mile 19. There was a man dressed up like a devil at the top of hill, welcoming us to Hell. I changed my socks and shoes and it felt so much better afterwards- like a new start.

Speaking of drop bags, it was so hard to determine which one to put different shoes in. There were three drop bag locations and I only had 3 half-way-runnable shoes to bring. Two of the shoes I brought were ones I hadn't run in in over 5-10 months but I knew I'd need something dry. Luckily I made the good decision to put shoes in the 1st and 3rd drop bags. We didn't get wet during the second part.

Up to this point I hadn't gotten lost yet and the course was better marked than I expected. There were a couple of close calls where we had to call runners back the other way. Everyone kept saying that the race director loves to throw you off a perfectly nice trail when you least expect it, so I was trying to be extra cautious.

Now here's the awesome part: Right after I was leaving the drop zone area, I made small talk with this guy, Bill. He asked me what I do for a living and as we were talking I told him I spoke Spanish and he told me he did Peace Core for 3 years in Ecuador. From there I started speaking in Spanish with him and we continued it for the next 6+ hours.

Meeting Bill was seriously such a blessing. It was so awesome- we were the same pace and we both enjoyed speaking Spanish and we ended up running the last 50k together. Speaking Spanish immediately helped us get our mind off of what we were doing and we just got into a great groove. I was nervous though because we started to pay less attention to the course markings since we were talking so much- but WE NEVER GOT LOST!!! WOOHOO! We made it- I was so happy.

But anyway...that just proves how much of a race is mental. Having someone to talk to, and to have good conversation with, makes a huge difference and energizes you. So that was Bill, thanks!

I can't remember much more of the course. Hmm. It wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be. There were a few big hills but nothing we hadn't seen before, and we just walked up them. There were some sections where you didn't run on a nice trail- you had to go off into the brush and forest- but it didn't seem like it was as hard to follow as Gnawbone. I might say Gnawbone was harder, but Hell just takes you longer because of the rain/mud crossings.

So speaking of mud- this was an AWESOME/HILARIOUS part. We were running in this little meadow area and the ground just looked muddy. Bill was in front of me and he took a step and was fine, and then on his very next step his leg LITERALLY fell like 3 feet into the mud- up to his thigh. I was cracking up soo hard! I can't explain it. I just stopped moving, bent over, and kept laughing. He was stuck in this gross, thick mud.

I tried to walk carefully and on my next step, I was in the same place. My left leg was stuck in the mud up to my thigh, and I don't remember where my right leg was but it wasn't stuck. I seriously couldn't move my left leg. It was like quick sand only mud. The pressure and thickness of the mud was scary. Bill had to pull me out without trying to fall back. I just loved the whole thing- it was so fun.

So we kept on going, trying to be careful. We were like little monkeys trying to jump onto the little tree stumps that were around and to not fall in. The next part we approached was an obvious mud trap. It was a bog about 10 feet across with a rope hanging over it to pull yourself. There was a cameraman on the other side of it, just waiting to get great pictures of trapped runners.

I don't know why but Bill seemed to think there was no other way to get across but to enter the bog. He got in, up to his chest, and was putting forth so much energy and strength to pull himself through. I was just cracking up watching him.

I was determined to find another path and I somehow managed to balance across a skinny log and jump across, free from mud. Bill was still plowing through the nastiness.

Then at some point near the end of the race, there was a lake we had to go through that was about knee deep. It was maybe .4 miles long and again, it was nice to cool off there. Bill and I were still feeling energized and kept on truckin.

I was able to keep eating/drinking a lot throughout the whole race thus far but even doing that, I felt pretty tired/hungry around mile 40. We finally made it to mile 43- the third/last drop zone. I have to say that the volunteers were AWESOME! They brought me tons of food, filled up my CamelPak, got me my drop bag, threw away my trash, and walked us to the next trail. It helped a lot and was very nice to come to.

I changed my shoes/socks and it felt great. I ate 3 half-PB sandwiches, pretzals, twizzlers, and some crackers. We took off and I knew it'd be a mental battle to finish the last stretch.

We had another aid station around mile 46. I was dragging behind Bill for a little bit at the end and thankfully he waited for me and we stuck together. I kept telling myself to keep on going and we ran a good part of the last few miles.

We could hear the music from the finish line and it teased me because I knew we could still be far away. Finally we heard more people coming and a relay guy told us it was only .5 miles away. Woohoo! We sprinted in together, with people cheering on the sides, and had a great finish. We rinsed off in the lake, grabbed the free pizza/pop, and then headed on home.

Since I finished first in my age group (I was probably the only one in my age group...), I got a free dwd headlamp. Sweet, now I won't get made fun of.

I'm a little sore today, but definitely not as bad as I thought I'd be. That's good news. And, I cannot believe that I don't have any blisters on my feet! I don't know how that happened. Since my toenails were already depleted and purple, nothing worse could have happened to them.

The path was all mixed up with a random course and it was fun. I loved the whole thing. I think it's interesting how I loved my first 50M race (that happened to be dwd), I struggled on the 100k (which wasn't a crazy, mixed up path like dwd), and then I loved my 2nd 50M race (that was dwd).

I think there's a connection between a crazy, challenging course and my life. At work, for example, I have to keep active and I have to be challenged. I have to keep doing different things or else I'll get bored. That's why I like dwd- you never know what to expect and you always keep occupied.

All in all, I'm ready for the next race.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekly Mileage Thus Far

  • I knew I needed to average more than 1 run per week so after the race, I had a nice good run on Monday (8/25). My legs were still sore so I didn't want to run that much, but I made myself go and I was glad I did. I probably ran for about 5 miles and it felt good to get all that junk out of my muscles.
  • On Tuesday I ran for about 7 miles and it was pretty nice out.
  • I had intentions to run on Wednesday and Thursday but I didn't.
  • On Friday I planned on having a good 45min-1hr run downtown. My CamelPak was still full with water (and a tiny bit of Gatorade) from the race on 8/23. The water stayed in it until I emptied it some time on 8/24. I didn't wash it, I just hung it upsidedown to dry. I figured it was fine. On Friday (8/29) when I attempted to go run, I took a drink out of the Pak and almost puked. It was the nastiest taste I've ever tasted. It wasn't just a rusty, old water taste. It seriously tasted like a moldy, old dog. There was probably some nasty green mold in there growing. That ruined my run for me. Since I didn't have water to make it on a long run, I decided to just run around the park a lot. Since I get bored with the same old path, I decided that I really didn't feel like running anymore and I quit after 2 miles. Bad pattern.
  • On Saturday I wanted to run but I didn't make it out.
  • On Sunday I had a good 7 mile run. It was so nice outside in the morning.
  • Yesterday I ran for about 5 miles. I ran on the canal and it was nice outside and sunny and pretty. Good to have a day off work.
  • 4.6 miles on Wednesday, 9/3
  • Hopefully I'll be in good shape for the race this Saturday!!!

Silver Lake 50/50 Race Review

I’m finally getting around to writing about the race. Well what I thought was going to be a great, easy 50 mile run turned out to be about a great 12.5 mile run, crappy 4 mile run, and then a crappier 4.5 walk. My first DNF (did not finish). Ohhh well.

Chris and I drove up to MI on Friday and got there around 10pm. We had no idea how many people were going to be at the race since it was the race director’s, Bruce’s, first race. It turns out there were about 27 people signed up for the 50mile race (I think only 22 showed) and about 55 or so people signed up for the 50k.

My race started at 7am and it was warm out but not as bad as I thought it’d be. We were all gathered around in a weird pile while Bruce was talking to us about the course and getting a headcount. Right afterwards he said “okay…you guys ready? Go!” and we all unexpectedly started running right then.

Since I happened to be at the front of the group while he was talking to us, I expected a ton of fast runners to pass me up in the first 1/5 mile. I was really surprised when only 2 people passed me…leaving me in about 7th place and 2nd female (mistake #1- worrying about my stupid place after 1 mile into it).

The course wasn’t too bad at all. Every once and awhile throughout the course I’d smell some really yummy citrus smell. I couldn’t tell if it was the bug spray on my arm or not, but it smelled good. The majority of the trail was shaded and it was a combination of rocks, sand, dirt, roots…the normal. It had a medium-high amount of little hills, and I ran up 99% of them during the first 12.5 mile loop.

I was feeling like I was running at a really good pace and I thought that I’d be able to keep it up. I felt like I was able to walk up the hills faster than normal. However since there were so few people running, I was by myself for almost the entire loop and therefore I couldn’t compare my speed to anyone else’s. There weren’t any super old skinny guys to speed walk up the hill and make me look like a big lazy kid.

At one point I finally caught up to 3 people in front of me and I was about 45 seconds slower than them. I kept trying to get them and finally there was an aid station that they had stopped at (by the way- there were aid stations at mile 4 and mile 9). I felt so proud of myself when I got there because I just grabbed one Gu and left- passing them all. It was a great feeling because that’s something I did in the past- take way too much time at aid stations and slow down.

Speaking of the Gu, it was disgusting! It was double espresso flavor or something and even though I like espresso, the Gu was nasty. I don’t know why I keep writing this because Gu is always nasty but it still seems to surprise me. The Gu was leaking out onto my hand and the humidity was increasing so I was just a gross, greasy mess.

Now probably my one and only complaint about this race was the bikers on the course. The trail was at a public State Park and I guess according to Bruce, the bikers are only allowed to travel clockwise (although Chris said there were a couple of bikers going the wrong way). The path that we were running on was very narrow and there were a bunch of curves, so a lot of times you couldn’t see what was going to be in front of you. I’m not kidding- there were about 4 times that I was seriously scared for my life (or at least body parts).

As we would be running up a hill, bikers would come down the hill full speed with no warning and we couldn’t see them until they were 2 feet in front of us. One guy got super close to me and I screamed and almost went off the path. Haha. I was mad at him for not stopping or saying excuse me. Ay ay ay. Anyway…that’s all. It was scary overall because that really would suck to get run over.

Back to running…I managed to stay in front of 2/3 of those people that I passed and I finally made it to the start/finish line again. I filled up my CamelPak and got some food. Right when I headed into the woods again to start the 2nd loop, it felt like a huge wall just came and hit me. It was the weirdest feeling…one that I hadn’t had in awhile.

All of a sudden I was walking up the tiny hills that were right at the beginning of the path. I had the weight of the filled-up CamelPak on me and I just felt soo physically tired. I had enough food and water and salt and I was drinking my protein drink that had 20 grams of protein in it (I drank half of it and then threw it away…no cap on it to save it for later. Lesson learned- stick with Ensure).

I kept on trucking and continued to run ¼ mile and then walk, run a tiny bit and then walk. I immediately thought of quitting (which I hadn’t done before in a big race) but then I told myself to keep going and then I’d get a 2nd/3rd wind on the next loop. I was still by myself on the path and I was really surprised that no one else had passed me yet even though I slowed down a ton. I was still in the top 3rd.

The more I kept going the more I thought about quitting. I tried to keep telling myself to stop thinking negatively until finally I said to myself, “you know what…who cares? If I don’t feel like running then why do I continue to run?”. I ran/walked to about mile 16 and then made the decision to DNF.

I walked the rest of the way until mile 21, where there was an aid station. Right when I walked out of the trail to the station I told them I was quitting. One said, “maybe you should eat some solid food and you’ll feel better”. I said, “nope…I just don’t feel like going anymore”. Another said, “ya…it’s pretty hot out there so it’s hard to run”. And I said “no…that’s not really it either. It’s just not my day and I want to stop”. It was funny…I wasn’t sore, I didn’t cramp up…I just felt like quitting because I was lazy and didn’t want to push myself. I really didn’t mind stopping.

So good ole Bruce drove me back to the start line cause I didn’t feel like walking 3+ more miles there myself. I got there around 12pm and took a little nap in the sun. It was kind of nice to know that I wouldn’t be getting home at 1am anymore. Now I knew I just had to wait for Chris to finish his 50k.

After I woke up, walked around some more, ate pizza, and after an hour or so had passed, I was seriously confused as to why I had quit. I couldn’t remember the feeling. Maybe I could have pushed myself more to finish but at the time I didn’t want to, and I didn’t want to finish if it meant walking more than 50% of it.

It is a weird feeling to DNF. On a physical level, I don’t mind not finishing a race. It was a good “training” run and I have another 50 mile race in a few days. However on a different level, I didn’t feel like explaining to other people why I didn’t finish. Chris told me as he dropped me off at home that I’m not immortal. Thanks Chris. 

Now on a separate note- the 50k path consisted of a different 6 mile loop, and then they finished out with 2 12.5 mile loops- the same loops that the 50 milers do. I wonnnnder if I would have finished a 50k had I signed up for it. For me, it’s all mental. So I’m thinking that if the order of mileage would have been broken up differently (as it was for the 50k), if I would have finished it.

I would have for sure felt fine for the first 6 miles…and so of course I would have continued on the next 12.5 mile loop. I’m assuming that after having done 18 miles, I would have made myself finish the last loop since the end was in sight. That may or may not be true…I just think I could have been able to trick myself to run more had the order of loops been different. Doesn’t matter.

Speaking of 50ks, Chris did the 50k and he had a good finish. Good job! I think the female winner finished 2nd place overall at a time of 5:20. That’s pretty fast.

Yes, I would probably sign up for the race again. Like I said, the course was fine and the weather wasn’t too bad. So as long as I feel like running that day, it’d be a good race.

It was nice to get home around 8:30pm that night instead of 2am like it would have been, had I finished. I was surprisingly sore the next couple days….and only from a 15-16 mile run! Maybe I need to start training more. Hmm.

(How’d you guys read all of this? It’s too long)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weekly Mileage/Pre-Race Stuff

Wow...almost been a month since the last post. Things have been busy.

I was at camp a few weeks ago in good ole Bedford, IN. Even though we had a busy schedule there, I took advantage of being off work and got some good runs in on the boring hilly path. I think I ran about 5x/wk (which is good for me), averaging anywhere from 3-10 miles a run.

Last Saturday I woke up at 2:15am and then ran 17 miles with Chris at 3am. It had been so long since I've done a long training run that I had forgotten everything I even needed for a "long" run. The run was mediocre. It was nice because the whole thing was done in the dark so when I got home, it felt like a whole new day and that I hadn't even run (Of course I went back to sleep for a few hours but oh well). However during the run, I just didn't feel super good and my legs were a little weird. I'm glad I did 17 though because now (knock on wood) I got that out of my system and hopefully I'll be good to go in a couple of weeks for Silver Lake.

I realllly meant to get a small run in last Sunday but I didn't. I ran 3 measly miles this past Monday and then hopefully I'll get in maybe 5 this afternoon. The weather has been pretty awesome lately and I hope it stays this cool for the race.

Speaking of, I finally booked a hotel near the MI park where the race is and I'm really looking forward to it. The area is supposed to be beautiful. I signed up for the 50 mile race. If I only do 50k, oh well.

So basically my toenails that have barely started to grow back will now be damaged and destroyed again and all of that growth will go down the drain. Pretty pictures of them coming soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where's my Runner's High?

For those of you that don't know, a "Runner's High" is when you are exercising for a long period of time and then you basically just feel awesome. What happens is after your body meets a certain point (based on your physical exertion), your body releases endorphins that appear like opiates and then somehow all of that makes you have an out-of-body sort of experience. (I don't know what all of that means...but that's what my thorough research said)

Scientists still debate whether or not the release of endorphins is actually the cause of one's heightened performance. According to ScienceDaily, a study was performed by scientists from fields of Nuclear Medicine, Neurology and Anaesthesia at the Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen (TUM) and the University of Bonn. They had ten athletes run for two hours and had scanned them with a positron emission tomography (PET) before and after. The article states that they used radioactive substance [18F]diprenorphine ([18F]FDPN), which binds to the opiate receptors in the brain and hence competes with endorphins. I have no idea what that means but the bottom line is, their performance was tested somehow.

Basically what they found out is that the Endorphin Hypothesis holds true- there is a connection between the release of endorphins and the emotional state of the athlete. For more details, see this blog post.

So now that we know (or we at least have a concrete example) that the Runner's High exists- and we know that in order to get one, you have to run for a long period of time- why the heck have I not gotten it in over a couple of years???? And only during the past year have I started to run a marathon regularly and only over the past 6 months have I started running ultras!!!
Which means that I got a runner's high from running 10-13 miles, not from my 26-65 miles. That does not make sense. If anything, I'd think I'd have a high every month from all of these races.
I'd like the scientists from all of those medical fields to do a study on me and see why I'm getting gypped.

It was so long ago that I can't remember my experiences that well- but I do know that runner's high are awesome but also scary. When you get the high, you feel like you're on top of the world. It's so great because your speed picks up and you seriously pass millions of people. However, the high's are very scary because you never know how long they're going to last. I remember getting the high one time at around 8 miles and I still had a couple miles to go. I wanted to take advantage of the high and go fast, but I didn't know if it'd stop after 30 seconds and I'd screw myself from wasting all of my energy. What a dilemma.

I know people say (and I've experience this) that during ultras people will get like 5 winds. They'll have low points and then high points and then back and forth. This is not what I'm referring to- that's different than the runner's high.

I'd like to hear from some of you (especially the ultra-runners) if you've had the high and if you did, what distance it was for.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Free Help for Your Runs

I've been thinking a lot lately about what helps me get through long runs (and even short ones) and I realized that a lot of it has to do with some of my nonverbal behavior (thank you Communications class).

Many of you might laugh at this post or think it's cheesy but I'm going to go out on a limb. I have found the following things below to be very helpful during long runs, especially when you really want to stop running and quit, and I thought I'd pass the info along.




-Smiling
I'm not talking about smiling at other people or anything (although that helps, too), I'm talking about smiling to yourself during a run. Similar to what I just said in my previous post, simply smiling at yourself can remind you of why you're even running. Why are you? You're running becuase you enjoy it and it's fun. Stop and take a break.




-Make the sign of the cross and thank God for the ability to run
Despite the funny picture above, I'm serious about this one. When I went to the Dormition Monastery last year, one of the Mothers talked about how important it is to make the sign of the cross. She said wherever you are, remember God and cross yourself. Even if you're in school or in public and don't want to physically cross yourself, make the sign with your eyes. This advice really stuck with me.

Furthermore, I always want to thank God for the physical/mental ability to run since so many people are not capable.

Having said all of that, during my long runs (especially when I'm struggling to keep going) I really try to make the sign of the cross and thank God that I'm even able to run. When I've been running for hours and I'm just in a zone, not smiling or thinking of anything helpful, I kind of wake myself up- smile- and then make the sign of the cross. It sounds funny but no one sees you and if others may see you, just do it with your eyes.

It works for me. Try it out.

Tough Training

Well I definitely thought I'd be running more in the summer than in the winter and so far I've been very wrong.

Why did I run a crapload when it was freezing outside and I couldn't feel my fingers and I was bundled up and now that it's warmer it's been hard to run? I think one big reason is after Kettle, I just took a huge break- which I wasn't used to. AND- I wasn't going to have a race for 1+ months- which I wasn't used to. Regular races motivate me to keep running during the week, but also make me slack on keeping up with my long weekend runs.

Another reason is that IN summer weather sucks and the humidity is horrible!!! If I lived in beautiful CA all the time like some of you do, things would be muchhh better. If only...

Basically, I don't have much discipline.

Part of why I haven't written in awhile is because I've been too embarrassed to say I've averaged 1 run/week so far for the past 1+ months. Ohhh well. I still have until August 23rd (Silver Lake 50/50) to get back in shape. I don't know which distance I'll choose.

Last Thursday I got a good 5 mile run in at the canal. It was nice to run out all of that lactic acid and go fast. Then last Friday I ran about 8 miles at the canal. I was a little rusty starting out since I hadn't run much lately and I wanted to go faster than I should have. I had to keep telling myself that I am only running for myself. I like running and it's a fun sport. No one is forcing me to run. It sounds silly but telling myself that seriously helps me mentally with my speed. Once I remember why I'm actually running, I'm able to pace myself more easily and I don't mind slowing down.

After my run I did about 15+ running hill repeats and then I decided to do about 10+ walking hill repeats. I always notice and talk about how fast some runners can walk up big hills during races while I'm hunched over trying not to die. And I always ask people if I should practice running up hills more to increase my walking speed, or if I should practice walking up hills...
I just decided to start walking up them and I surprisingly found myself trying not to run up it. It was pretty hard walking up it but I can already tell it'll increase my speed if I keep it up. My calves are sore from just a few repeats.

Now it's Tuesday and a few days have passed since the last time I ran. Dangit. One day at a time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dances With Dirt - Devil's Lake CANCELLED

That's sad....I just got an email today saying the dwd-Devil's Lake race that was set for August 9 is cancelled, "...due to the amount of parking and trails used, and the impact to low and wet ground".

What does that mean? "The amount of parking and trails used"??? Does that mean there's not enough parking space for all the runners or there's too much trail to track down or what?

I kept reading the email they sent me and it says, "...flooding demolished roads, trails and messed up the sewage system". That's gross. "...messed up the sewage system"? Yuck. That'd be disgusting to be running for 10 hrs in the hot, humid August sun with poop melting onto your shoes. Haha.

Well nuts...that stinks.

I don't have to find a race during that week but I'd like to, since it's been over a month since my last race and I don't want to wait until August 23rd. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 20, 2008

When to Help the Injured

Okay so I just talked about Claire getting injured during the race and I talked about how the other runners (and fans, for that matter) ignored her as she fell twice and crawled to the finish line.

That got me thinking and brought me to my next point or question:

During a race, when do (or should) you (the runner) stop to help another runner who is injured?

Vote and let me know what you think.

Many of you may think it's an obvious answer: Stop and help the person because helping a person is more important than finishing the race in a good time, or at all. However, it is a much tougher decision for me.

A few times during races I've seen injured people hobbling along with a runner that's helping them, and it's obvious they won't finish the race. At those times I always ask myself what I would do if that runner had fallen right in front of me.

It's such a hard choice because I am a competitive, selfish person (is this confession?).

If the person had fallen right in front of me and they couldn't get back up, and I was the only one around, I would feel obligated to stop and help them. Despite the fact that I would be helping someone who needs me, I would be very disappointed that it caused me to have a slower time in the race (especially if I was feeling strong and going fast).

If the person had fallen around me and there were others around who hadn't stopped, I would assume (more like, hope) that they would be fine and surely someone else would stop for them. That is the truth.

Which brings me to my next point: Whenever someone needs help- whether it be due to a car accident, due to a bully, due to a fight, what have you- the majority of people will let the problem/violence continue because they assume that someone else will take care of the matter and call for help.

One personal example is when I was driving home on the interstate last year and I saw an SUV flipped over in grassy area near the median. As I drove by I saw that people were inside the car still, upside-down. I was so scared for them and so I immediately called 911. However, that's all I did.

No one was around the SUV, no one else had stopped to help them, I don't know how long they were there for- and yet I still didn't stop because I assumed that surely someone else would see they needed help and stop for them.

The whole ride home and afterwards I kept thinking about them and wondering if I should have stopped to help.

This assumption has been referred to as the Genovese Syndrome, or the Bystander Effect. According to the highly reliable source- Wikipedia- solitary individuals will typically intervene if another person is in need of help. However help is less likely to be given if more people are present.

To sum up where "Genovese Syndrome" comes from, Kitty Genovese was sexually assaulted, robbed, and then stabbed to death in front of many of her neighbors in NY in the '60s. People saw what was going on but yet let it happen, not in the least bit attempting to stop the man or to help the woman.

I could go on and on but I must get back to work.

Bottom line is- be careful if you're ever the one in need. Flag down people and yell at people to stop and help you because if there's more than one person around watching you get beat up or robbed, chances are no one will help.