Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weeks 7 and 8 in the numbers

56.6 miles run in week 7 marathon training (two weeks ago).  
30.6 of those miles felt like crap.  
1 1/2 marathon I WAY underestimated I'd need more time to recover from (thus 30 miles were pretty much "junk" miles.  I wouldn't even classify them as "recovery" miles, they were that bad).
1.4 lbs. I gained last week "running" 56.6 miles.  Really? Really?  Really????  *sigh*

1 very sad race picture from Denver RnR.  Is it mandatory that every race photographer takes a picture as runner presses "stop" on their watch as they cross the finish line?   
33 miles run in week 8 of marathon training (last week). *sigh*
2 consecutive days I've missed running last week.  *sigh*
102.1 degree fever I have been sporting on and off for the past 3 days.  Thus, not running much.  *sigh*
32,965 Ibuprofen I think I've downed since Friday.
99 % stressed I am about missing the majority of a very tough training week!
3 4 5 times I have obsessed about reworked my training plan to accommodate the past failed 2 weeks.
13 weeks to Carlsbad Marathon.  *sigh*
118 elements in the periodic table.  THIS BOOK is amazing (to a science geek like myself); something I had to pick up while perusing the bookstore this past week!
It comes as an app for your iPad, if you're lucky enough to own an iPad.
1 Apple iPad I wish I owned. *sigh*  Perhaps Steve left me one in his will....

21 year old (almost) daughter I miss.  A lot. It doesn't matter that she just moved 25 minutes from me, I miss her HERE and hearing about her daily life. 

Unless she dresses like a zombie for the Zombie Crawl on the 16th St. Mall yesterday....  ewww.

40 dollars I saved by cancelling my PT appointment this week so I could run this trail race today.
50 dollars I saved by being sick and not able to run above trail race *sigh* - which, btw, my 16-year old son did run and it kicked his normally uber-fast BUTT!!  Bahahaha. (yes, I'm a mean mom.  Everyone needs a race like this sometimes to bring them down to earth a little.  At least this guy :)  He did have an awesome race last week and ran his last xc meet in a 17:52 (a 5:45 min/mile).  Very happy for his incredible season!!  He's going to have an awesome junior year next year!).

40 % off at The Gap - hello new jeans!  Thanks to cancelled PT appointment and race I couldn't run today.
1 VERY proud mom to the other 16-year old and his marching band, who did not place at the semi-finals in Ft. Collins Friday, but has greatly improved and had a fantastic year.  As a girl who never knew one sole in her high school (of 850 in her graduating class) who was in marching band (runners don't mix well with band...evident by having the two mixes live in my house!!), and pretty much determined them all "weird", I find myself so impressed with all the hard work these guys do!  They work just as hard, if not harder, than my track running son!  Well done, Brendan!!!  Band ROCKS!
Yes, you can steal marching band pics, just like you
can steal running pics.  Sweet!  And yes, this child
and the child above are TWINS.  You'd need to
see them side-by-side to understand; they don't
even look like they're related.
64.97 % better I feel today.  Fingers crossed I can run tomorrow.
99 times I have thought about starting a petition this week to make all grocery store check-out-clerks to ask for verification from customers if training for a winter marathon - if so, then make it illegal to purchase Halloween candy.  See 1.4 lbs. gained above.
536 times a full Ironman in 2012 has entered my brain this week.  See 102.1 fever above.
5 days off for fall break.  YAY!
3 days of cold, snowy weather moving in this week to dampen our plans to climb Mt. Quandary. *sigh*
What I ran into climbing Quandary last fall.
28 29 Pairs of Nike Tempo Shorts I own (one pair, my favorite from Boston 2009, must be in the wash).  Is there such a thing as Nike-Tempo-Short-Anonymous?  Seriously!!  You gotta admit, those pink polka dot ones in the front are really cute though!!

100 % grateful for all the ALL the amazingly sweet comments on my RnR race report.  My cup runneth over!!!!!!   THANK YOU!!!!!!
Run strong, my friends! (at least stronger than I did this past week)

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am completely stunned! Denver RnR 1/2


I still get a little bit of a chill just thinking about it!

I'm really, really tired and still need to make some lunches for my kids - you know, 'cause 16-year old's left to their own devices will pack garbage for lunch - so I'll keep this pretty short (hahaha, right!).

My time, my effort: I truly am shocked, I had no idea I had it in me.  Be it the incredibly cool weather for the race (38 at start time, 48 at the end); the high mileage I have been logging the past 5 weeks; the huge cut-back week I had prior to the race; the fact that I love road racing and it's been about a year and a half since I last ran one and was just so excited to be there; or maybe I just don't know my own speed yet, but when I crossed the finish line, I was absolutely shocked.

Whatever it is, I've been patient; God is finally saying yes.

I had no expectations, no goals, no anything swimming in my head other than I had hoped I could run around 2-hours.  I even debated lining up with the 2-hour pace group but they were a couple corrals back (it helps to lie and submit some sort of "in my wildest dreams" predicted time to land you in a higher wave) and this race is so big I just didn't want to start so far back and have to claw my way forward.  So I popped in my corral, which happened to be near the 1:40 pacer (yeah, hahah, in another life, but not this one.  Yet) and thought I'd just bide my time until the 2-hour group came up on me and pray like mad I could hang with them.

I ran Garmin-less.  My Garmin is on the disabled list - the battery is toast and it holds a charge for about 10 minutes.  I've spent countless hours with Garmin on the phone about this and thought it was a software problem but apparently it's not and I haven't invested in the $79 replacement charge (plus shipping) yet.  Non-Garmin racing is my pretty standard protocol, I really don't like to race with the thing; the race tends to become one where I am constantly obsessing about my pace and I look at the thing 4000x in a mile.  Still, since I have no idea of my pace right now, I wanted to wear it so I didn't kill myself at the start, like I notoriously do.  But I had no choice so I wore my old, reliable Nike watch and I just took splits at each mile marker (and I have to admit, the races I have not worn my Garmin are the races I have run my best).

The course isn't very difficult, at least if you're done a little hill work - which I haven't.  Or done some speedwork - which I haven't.  But the hills tend to come at the end of the race (though I'm swearing the hill at mile 3 is grossly misrepresented in this profile chart!!) so it is probably a good idea to conserve a little at the start.  At least for me - which I didn't.
Off I go.  I missed the first mile marker so when I hit the 2nd marker in 18 minutes, I thought I was doing fine....but really, that first mile was one big cluster mob and it had to be around  a 10 min/mile, so really, mile 2 was pretty quick.   I march on.  When I got to mile 5, I was steadily hitting an 8:30ish pace and I honestly couldn't believe I wasn't dying.  I didn't feel fantastic, but I also didn't feel bad and all I kept thinking was: this is a race, it is suppose to be tough.  Miles 7-9 were the most mentally challenging, it's along this section that you can actually see other runners, in front and behind you, and I just got a little overwhelmed at how fast I was running this thing.  I just told myself that this was really a test race to see where my fitness level was and when I hit the wall, at least it'd give me an indication of where my weaknesses are and where I need to focus the training.

But the wall never happened!!!   Not really.  I felt I slowed from mile 9-10, I was tired here and it was a gradual uphill, but my watch said this was my fastest split at a 8:01.  HUH?  Mile 10.5 you enter Cheeseman Park and it's one big hill and then levels out a bit and then one final climb in the race to mile 11.5.  I felt incredibly strong here for some reason and when I exited the park, I knew the uphills were behind me and I thought to myself that I only had a little over a mile left, this would be tough, but tough is what I love.  My heel was doing great.  My hamstring was doing great.  The biggest problem I had was that my left forefoot (my "good" foot), I am developing one big callous from my new foot striking position (I presume) and that callous was really bugging me (anyone know how to get this thing removed?).  I just couldn't get over the fact that I was consistently hitting paces in the 8s!  I mean, I haven't run anything under a 9:30 for the most part in my training and honestly did not believe it was in me.

Up until mile 12, I really was not paying attention to where I was with my over-all time.  I would concentrate on being strong, listen to my music, watch those around me, and when the mile marker came up, I would glace at my watch, hit the lap button, then look at my split, and onward I'd go.  So when mile 12's pace clock showed a 1:43 and I knew I just had 1.1 miles left, I think I got the biggest smile on my face - I knew I could get a sub 1:55.

I can't even express - honestly - how stunned I was when I crossed the finish and stopped my watch and saw a 1:52:09.  Yes, in a past life this time probably would have had me jumping off a cliff, but not in this post-injury-from-hell life.

There aren't enough exclamation marks to use here how good I felt!!!

I wandered around to find the sweat-bag check; I was absolutely freezing from being so soaked with sweat, water, Cytomax and the chill of the 48 degrees (according to one volunteer).  After I got my bag, I found my friend and client, Dave (who did an amazing PR of 1:46 - yay, Dave) and then ventured to the beer garden where I met my friends and ran into the one and only Nora!!
She ran an awesome race, too, and we shivered together as we talked for awhile.  She's such an incredible person!  She was waiting for her husband to finish running the full marathon (on a very bad ankle - yikes) so we chatted awhile until my friends wanted to leave to get some real food (thanks, Nora!! :)).
What a perfect way to end the day: with friends, having a beer, eating good food, and celebrating the race, a race which in my wildest dreams, never thought was in me!!!

So the race is done and I move forward soaking in all that I learned from it.  If I am able to walk today (that's a big IF), I will enter week 7 of my marathon training program, feeling a little energized from today's race (duh!) and excited that this guy is going to help me hone in on my nutrition so I can get my weight back down to ideal racing weight and start feeding my body with the proper foods to fuel my running more efficiently.

I'm pretty pumped to see where this journey is going to take me.  I can't wait!

Lunches are calling....

Run strong, my friends!

And THANK YOU, to all, for your awesome support and encouragement this past year and a half, I can't tell you how many times I thought about the blog when I was running; it's been one extremely long and difficult test of patience, I couldn't wait to finally share some news with y'all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Golden Rockies / Week 5

Every runner needs a change of pace once in a while, and what better change than to take to Rocky Mountains in fall when Colorado's quintessential aspen trees are peaking their vibrant golden leaves!  Fall is probably my favorite time of the year in the mountains - I love the cool, crisp morning air, and I am enthralled with the varying shades of golds and yellows the aspens produce.  End of September is the ideal time to witness this gilded spectacle, and I was blessed my friend offered her condo in Keystone for me stay a couple days so I could indulge in a little leaf viewing, bike riding, and even a bit of trail running (thanks, Janet!).  

Off of the Bakerville exit...not sure the mountain peak, I was going
to guess Grays and Torreys, but I think this is only one peak. ??
These pictures are only a small taste of all there is to experience in fall; my time was limited in the two days I was visiting, and I wasn't able to venture off to some of the more beautiful sections, but I made the most of every spec of daylight I could.
A short, easy run around Bakerville
Looking to the North from Bakerville
Just to prove I was actually there and not stealing
the pics from the internet :)
The hills above the condo I stayed at in Keystone
A little chilly up there at 11,900' on top of Loveland Pass.
Did a short hike up on top for about 30 minutes.
Love coming down the backside of this Pass, so pretty.  
Small lake on the backside of Loveland Pass.  Ran about a mile on
the trails around here.
These leaves were the more golden color than most
aspen trees
Lily Pad Lake Trail on the outskirts of Frisco.  
Running up the trail to Lily Pad Lake was pretty tough for me.  My legs were fairly stiff from the Bear Chase race the day before and the first 1.5 miles of this trail gains about 900'.  Needless to say, I "hiked/ran" most of this trail.  I have found that at times running mountains involves walking, sometimes scrambling, at times even sliding on loose gravel, mud or even snow - but isn't that the fun of it?   You’ve got to stay focused on each and every step unless you want a twisted ankle or a shin full of rocks (speaking of which, my knee is healing well from last week's tumble - thanks for asking :)), but it is a wonderful break from city running.  I wish I could somehow provide a "scratch and sniff" picture because wow, the fresh air smells so amazing!
More of the Lily Pad Trail
View of Lake Dillon from Lily Pad Trail
Biking and running around the Lake Dillon area

The old silver mining town of Silver Plume.  Love this little town.
I've done a few trail runs starting up Guanella Pass and down
the flip side, and run into this town before we turn around and head
back.  Love to soak our tired feet in the chilly stream....
....and stop at this bakery to use the bathroom....and get a
small treat.  Again, if you could smell the aroma of fresh
baked bread here....amazing!  Jason's going to buy it
one day .... can't wait for all the free bread and cinnamon rolls!
The landscape behind Main Street in Silver Plume.  Notice
the silver plumes about a quarter of the way down from
the top of the mountain?  These plumes are remains from
the old silver mining days (gold mining remnants are gold
colored plumes.  There's your geology lesson for the week :))
I had a great couple days up in the mountains, wish it could have been longer but I'll take what I can get.  Monday, stopped at several places along I-70 and hiked/ran some trails on my way to the condo.  Later that afternoon, I took my road bike out for a little adventure down the bike path from Keystone to Lake Dillon, and Tuesday was more trail running and a little bit of shopping in town for a wedding I had to go to on Friday.  It’s a great couple days which  allowed me to enjoy fresh air, natural light and the spectacular surroundings. It was also very meditative being on the trails;  there are not as many runners out there than on the roads I run at home and I found a great sense of peace and quiet.

Week 5:
Run: 3 miles at 9800' (actually more than 3, but since I hiked a lot of it, we'll just call it 3)
Bike: 15 miles
Run: 8 miles @ 9:53 pace at 9200'.  
I call this a miracle because the terrain was challenging and the air thin.  I was definitely light headed and slightly nauseous.  Bleh.
Run: 10 miles @ base with 9x35 sec fartleks between 7:10 - 6:39 sprinkled in. I KNOW - 6:39?  It may have had a slight downhill, I'm not sure anymore.  I felt a lot better on this run than on the same run last week, and added more intervals.
PT mutilation in the afternoon
Run: 5 miles @ base w/7x35 sec hill sprints at 7:31 and 6% incline.
Core: 15 minutes
Run: 8.37 miles @ 9:31 pace.  
Pretty stoked about the pace.  Starting to see VERY slight decrease in the pace thing.  
Weights: 30 minutes
Run: 2 miles WU for weights
Weights: 30 minutes
Definitely feeling the week's schedule.  Thought about swimming, but decided more weights were a better fit for the day.  Very bummed I didn't get any pool time in this week though!
Run: 17.2 miles + 1.3 miles cd
This run almost killed me.  I didn't feel good from the start, had some pretty icky stomach issues (I need to get my "runner's diet" back into the game) and though I felt strong at the start, I faded quickly around mile 13.  Good thing my Garmin died (totally pissing me off!) as I'd be afraid to see what my pace was.  Prior to it dying, I ran a 9:50 for 8.20 miles.  Spent some time in the lovely porta-pottie at mile 11 with my stomach.  Ran with my neighbor, Jim, and he was very patient with me.  Overall I am not upset with the run, I ran the hills strong, which had been kicking my butt the past few weeks.  I just think the demise was a collection of not enough recovery from The Bear Chase and a pretty high mileage week.  

Week 5 Stats:
Run: 55.79
Bike: 15.0 mi
Weights: 1:00:00

September Stats:
Run: 208.39 mi
Bike: 73.78 mi
Swim: 3.95 mi
Weights: 3 hr 40 min

And for those who aren't fortunate enough to be my friend on FB, or saw my last post after it first went up, here's a picture from one of the water crossings from last week's Bear Chase race:  

Overall, I am pretty happy with how well I am holding up with my training.  My left hamstring continues to rear its ugly head from time to time but it is less aggravating than it was when I first started out.  I had a really bizarre, excruciatingly painful, knee issue when I did my cool down today....I couldn't force my knee to go uphill to my house.  I turned around and walked backwards and that helped some but when I got home I tired to lay it flat on my bed to ice it but that made it 10x worse and it was throbbing so I just bent it up to my chest and held it there and suddenly the pain went away.  I then took an ice bath and had absolutely no issues with it since.  So odd - never experienced that before.  My heel, though I do notice it occasionally, it is doing great.  As friends told me the other day: Remember when this spring and you couldn't even walk?  Um...yes, unfortunately, I do!  

I'm reluctantly doing this Stupid (click on the link for a great definition of "stupid") Denver RnR half marathon this weekend - a race I swore I'd never do in my current state of pathetic fitness, but a bunch of my relay teammates are doing it and egged me into it....and hey, beer with friends after at the Cheeky Monk - how could I say no, despite how stupid this idea is!  I have no expectations (hahahah, right!) other than to finish strong.  So, to prep for the race, and because I'm feeling the affects of 5 weeks of pretty high mileage (for me), I am scaling back the running drastically this week, throwing in a couple good swim workouts, attempting to sleep more, and revamping my diet back to where it needs to be for me to run stronger.  Those are the goals.

Until next time....

Run strong, my friends!  :)