Monday, August 31, 2009

Somewhat Pickled

I liked a FB comment from a friend I just read: my streak of happy Mondays has come to a screeching halt.

While today wasn't in the "incredible" category, there's no comparison to last Monday when things were getting bad. I can certainly relate to fellow runner FBer but I am glad it's not me today.

Went to the gym and worked out. I feel weak today. Okay, I didn't necessarily go in there thinking I had no energy, I just think the weighs trainer-man had me do were too heavy for me today. I think there's a difference between the two. T-man good today...I've asked a few questions a couple times and no response....

Abbey and I did the school shopping thing; hard to believe she will be leaving next week for college :(. I'm going to miss her so much!! Got home and went for a 5 mile easy run at the park. Nice and cool, AND nice to run slow. Both my knees were a little annoying and my quads were tight when I was done...but my glute pain was not as bad so that's a good thing. I stretched it before and am going to a bit tonight before I head off to bed. I have no clients or workouts at 5am tomorrow.... a bit more sleep hopefully!

Definitely cold last night. Fall is approaching quickly.

Finally got a group email out to the relay members. Our team name: Somewhat Pickled. Don't ask. Well, okay .. the first group is called The Pickled Prostates and the are all a male masters team. Since our team isn't all over 40, we're somewhat pickled. I'm going to have Abbey make us some pickle signs for our car and our exchange. Anyway, made some progress on the items we need and Matt even managed to finagle a 2nd car!!! I'm starting to feel a little better about the relay....maybe.
5 miles run
1 weight training

Week 34

Week 34 Totals
Weeks running total: 32.5
2009 running total: 1290.07
Weight training this week: 1

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rounding Out the Week...

I didn't get to write yesterday due to too many things on my plate so here's a quick recap of Saturday: I ran 8 miles, middle 6 at a slowed tempo (that's slightly above race pace but not quite at tempo pace: about 8:19 for first 4, 8:08 for mile #5 and 8:00 for last). Didn't feel that well at first; legs tired and stiff but as the miles went on, I felt a lot better. Did I stretch before or during? No. My glute is screaming at me again so I need to get back at the stretching again. I'm not sure why I think that just because things are feeling good that it's a ticket to stop stretching. Obviously, it's telling me it's not cuz it's been hurting for over a week now and it is pretty bad again today. Anyway, did my running on the treadmill. I know, what? It was like one of the nicest days this summer, ideal for running outdoors and here I am indoors on a stinking treadmill. Well, there's a valid reason for this: I wanted to get on a set pace and not deviate from that pace by going to fast (or too slow) and obsessing over my watch. I did a few weights later in the day but not as much as I was suppose to and I did not get in a swim that I longed to. End of the month writing deadline are killing me right now.

Today: 5am alarm went off and I didn't want to get up; the lack of sleep this week has drained me so much - but once I got up and going, all was good. Dennis picked me up at 6 and we headed up to the mountains. Last year, in preparation for the downhill course for the St. George marathon, we mapped out a section in the mountains that would closely emulate the StG course. I had a lot of major stomach issues on that run; I think it got too warm, I ran it too fast, and I was dehydrated -- let's just say I had to stop frequently and use whatever would suffice for a "facility." It's a very pretty run starting in the woods on the trails, turning to paved bike path, and then onto the frontage road - the vast majority of it along Clear Creek creek. Since I'm not doing StG this year and since I just ran 26 last weekend, I didn't do this entire 23 mile point to point mostly downhill course but I dropped off Denise at the top, near Loveland Ski area and then drove the car down to the ending point in Idaho Springs.

I ran 6.5 uphills miles and then 6.5 down on the frontage road that Denise would soon be on. I legs just didn't want to run after I turned around. They felt okay going up and I thought I had a good pace for all 900' elevation gain but after I turned around, I ran about another mile to the Conoco station, refilled my water bottle and headed back on road...but suddenly having no strength in the legs. I was shocked at times when I was on some good downhills sections that my pace was no better than 9 minutes/mile. I wasn't dead by any means, I could just feel the ole quads not really wanting to run hard. I think that's okay, they were still tired from Park City and it wasn't the goal to run "fast." More deflating than the tight quads producing slow movement was the fact that my glute started misbehaving and it was worse going down. I'm also experiencing some heel tightness; I think it's time to replace my insoles with some better ones. I wish I could have worn my new shoes, but they have a hole in them on the outside that is about the size of a nickle. I got them online so now I got to deal with getting them returned and new ones here soon so that I can get them broken in. ugh. I reached the town of Idaho Springs, which is where the gold rush began January 7, 1859, and is filled with a lot of history (obviously). It's now kinda touristy (but not overly so, like Estes Park) but it has some pretty cool old Victorian houses that line the main street in town; I really enjoyed walking past and admiring many. I didn't care that I was a few tenths short of 13 miles, that wasn't important to me unlike say.....Dennis whom had to run around the parking lot to get his .2 extra miles in to make it a solid 23 for him. I'm still calling my portion 13, though I stopped at 12.7. I did walk the last .3 :). We had a nice lunch in town and headed home where I indulged in a nice ice bath, a very short 10 minute nap, talked to a friend for awhile on the phone about a condo in Vail for the CO relay (she owns a 3-bedroom and has offered to let us use it. Yes!!!), and now I need to get some dinner and get some writing down. A very nice weekend....though way too short :(

The pic above is of this old gold mine; you run past this about a mile into Idaho Springs. I love these things; they remind me of when I was a kid at my grandmother's house in northeastern Iowa and I'd go spend hours exploring the old abandoned schoolhouse and general store (which she owned). Plus the geologist in me can't not like this!

21 miles total for the weekend

Friday, August 28, 2009

Portland prep timed mile 2

I don't think Rob really thought running a scheduled timed mile today was a good idea but I felt I should at least try after last week's failed attempt. But I have to admit, entering the track this morning, I had my doubts; I just didn't feel that well.

It's so dark at 5:30am anymore; I hate that fall is quickly arriving.

I ran a mile warm up before Rob got there and in that warm up, I did a about 4 200's so that I could get a sense of where I wanted my pace to be. I was hitting them about 50 seconds and I knew I had to run a bit harder; 50 seconds for a 200 was 1:40 for a 400 and that was too slow.

I didn't even stretch, I just talked with Rob a bit and then hit the track. I get so nervous for these things, but I really think the nerves are what gets my blood pumping and the adrenaline flooding and therefore run a bit faster than we can. I hit the first quarter at 1:35 and this was the ONLY time I looked at my watch; I didn't want to do the mental math and only wanted to run on a perceived effort. I wanted to "feel" my pace and it never even bothered me that I didn't look. The 2nd lap 3:14, 3rd 4:53 and the final time: 6:32.

No one more surprised than me!! I honestly thought I'd end up around the 6:36-8 range. I did not look up any of the statics from my last mile; I did not want to know. But somewhere I thought I ran a 6:35 last time, even emailing Dennis and boosting on FB that I had lowered my time by 3 seconds. It wasn't even until around 5:00 this evening that I went to look up my old time. Eternal thanks to Rob for being there!

Nope, last time: 6:31.

Bummed? At first ... mostly because I was wearing a PR Portland prep mile high all today, which seemed to elevate my mood. But for all the issues I had during the past week, I'm going to try to look at it as a triumph simply that I got there and ran it and didn't give up. That is an accomplishment and well worth a second slower, considering all circumstances (this week has HAD to be one of the worst weeks I think I've ever encountered in a very long time). I ran it smarter this time, not going out too fast like last time, and I felt consistent throughout. Pretty happy with it now.

2 miles run

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Work is cutting into my time...

Reentry back into the working world is always a big adjustment, especially with my time. It's hard to fit it all having had the luxury of more time during the summer. So this will be a short blog, as I had already hoped to be asleep by now.

I'm thinking my antibiotic is worthless and not performing it's intended duty: to cure my sinus infection. I have had the worst headache for the past several day and the pressure on my sinuses are worse than ever. I think a trip back to the dr. by Friday is in order if this mess isn't cl earned up by then. I'm sure this head mess is only exacerbating the hole I seem to be sinking further in. Man, I feel horrible!!

So just a side note: my next race is NOT Portland but the Colorado Outward Bound Relay, which is Sept 11-12 and is 174 miles (well that may actually change because Guanella Pass, part of the first legs, is closed do to potential rock slides). I yearned to be on this relay for a couple years and last year came close to taking someone on the forum's offer of another teammate. But I knew Rob would blow a gasket being it was so close to St. George. Well, this year I'm in and I'm in no better of a position to be doing it this year than I was last, because of Portland Marathon on October 4th. So I'm a little whacked over this, too. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be on a team, and it's part of the prostates running group (with about 6 or so people that Jeff found so we could form the group, since many in my group (#2) bailed or moved to group #1 (the elite over 40 male group) ) so I know a few of the guys (Matt, Craig M....maybe another) so that's a plus. I'm just a little worried the lack of sleep and how dead tired I'm going to be upon return and how I'm going to fit in my sleep and long run for Portland. Things that keep me awake at night. Tomorrow's goal for relay team: I'm going to book a hotel or condo. That's been my job for the past well, several weeks, and I haven't done it yet. Cuz there's been a little lack of communication on what and where I needed to get one. But I will. Anyway, just wanted to share what was next on my agenda. And adding to my stress.

I went to workout this morning, which turned into a disaster, which I won't indulge in cuz it's not worth it. I went to work with about 10 unsuccessful Tylenol's and came home and took a nap. This nap thing has to stop but like my job, it's taking up too much valuable time. But it felt good; I slept hard. I went to the gym tonight and ran the treadmill and practically suffocated it was so hot in there. I needed a good sweaty run, though, to sweat out the tension. But that's when I decided I needed a new antibiotic because that's when I most noticed how this thing is not getting better. I ran a mile warm up, 2 miles at 8:40, 1 mile at 8:08 and one at 8:00. Then 1/2 mile cooldown. I followed that with some weights and ab work and called it a night at the gym.

I then proceeded to the grocery store where I bought more strawberries (did I mention the strawberries yesterday? I'll write about them later if not) and ... cottage cheese *gasp*. I hate that crap but in my disastrous morning talk with Rob, it was reiterated that this is the perfect food for I'm trying to make him happy. I thought I could down the stuff without actually chewing it but found out you can't. So I plugged my nose to abate the taste and I ate 3 tablespoons. I think that's pretty remarkable for me...who hates most foods with weird textures. Anyone have any ideas to make this stuff taste any better w/o adding calories? Cinnamon, perhaps? I'll attempt more tomorrow.

5.5 miles run

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 2 of work: I left early!

I had a headache today like you wouldn't believe! The whole ordeal of post-Park City has left me wide awake at night and not able to really get the rest I desperately need and wow, my head is pounding! I got up early this morning to work out with Ann, whom is an amazing client, and then went directly to work. About noon, I had a mini meltdown and had to go home. Day 2 and I had to go home about 2 hours early. This is not a good beginning to the school year.

I got a great nap in this afternoon, though. We had this huge thunderstorms roll through Denver and dump a load of water on my quickly drying up yard (yea) and some hail (boo); anyway, it brought in some cool temps that just made it perfect for an afternoon nap. I needed it.

By the time I got up and got some writing done, I was so ready to hit my treadmill to test the ole legs. Happy to report: they work!! Not as fast as I want them to work but relieved there was no muscle soreness or aching. Okay, a little tight in the hamstrings, which is par for the course; I should have stretched them but I didn't have time. I ran 4x1 miles at a pretty modest pace of 7:35. It wasn't easy and normally this might sent my mind on a rampage but it's already pretty maxed out on the tangles right now so no more can really squish in there. My head's pretty full right now, no more room for any more issues. Oh, except this: the newest thing thrown at me today from Rob is that my nutrition is all off. I don't have the right fuel to support my running. Well, I've turned in a log of my daily intake (and I am about 99.1% honest. I promise) and he's never made a comment on it in the past; yet now it's also causing some of my running problems. Hum. Yeah Meg, you're right. It's just hard ......

Okay so my goal is to be in bed before 11:00 and it's 10 minutes 'til so off I get. I will say though that the run today helped heal a bit; there is nothing as therapeutic for me as a good, hard run!!! I can't wait to run tomorrow!

5 miles run

Week 33 Totals

Week 33 Totals
Weeks running total: 36.5
2009 running total: 1257.57
Weight training this week: 1

Park City Marathon: 4:13:52 (training run)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Park City Marathon *training*

Park City Marathon medal; made out of stained glass. Very cool!

I think the next time I plan a marathon "training" run, I'm going to check the profile a bit more closely; this was a very tough course. Not sure pre-profile check would have deterred me from running it, as these profiles never paint a true picture, but next time I will certianly look a little more, was that difficult.

I didn't have a "goal" other than I wanted to run it slowly so that it felt good which I was figuring in the range of 4:15. I certainly did not want to run it hard and trash my legs....that was not the goal. I'm pretty freaked as it is about Portland and the last thing I need is going into that race with messed-up legs.

But I am really not sure I could have run that race today any harder!!??!! By the last two miles, the sun was blazing and I was dying. Owie

This course is very pretty (as is the entire town; it reminds me a lot of Steamboat). It is one of the most diversified terrain and vairied scenery I have ever run. You start on paved road with some rolling hill through an affluent residential area near a golf course and soon merge onto a bike path. I got caught up in the excitment of the race and the first mile was about 8:35 so I pulled back a little. The course proceeds through a tunnel and are on a paved road here and I got caught up in some fun conversations with two groups of guys: one group was with about 4 people and they were also "training" this marathon for their biggie in NYC in Nov. 3 of the 4 have been injured and one guy hadn't even run in a month. That always amazing me how someone can run 26 miles having not run in all that time; I see it a lot! Anyway, we somehow got into the discussion about what our "training" times were for this race based on our near-future goal time and one of the guys seemed to think I shouldn't run it over 4-hours. I really think this is one time I really didn't let that time distract me, and get my mind in a tangle. I knew my purpose here was to perform slow. The other guy I talked to for quite awhile actually was a bit older and heading up the 4:30 pace team in NYC. I enjoyed listening to him share his pacing team stories. I lost both groups at the aid station; the large group going on ahead of me and the pace team guy stopping to get water.

At the aid station, the course turn onto what is called the Rail Trail. It's a gravel trail that runs for about 7 miles and is a "gradudual uphill" according to the course description. I should also learn to read descriptions more closely before I run a race also because gradual for 7 miles can actually slow your pace and I was having the hardest time trying to figure out why I could not pick up the pace a bit here as I was thinking maybe after mile 8, I'd run about 5 miles at race pace. Nope, couldn't do it. When I decided I'd try this little pace pick-up, the course was starting to climb and is not really "gradual" anymore. I will say this about the famous Rail Trail: though it was probably the most beautiful part of any marathon I've ever run, showing off the ski resort to the West and skies lined with hot-air balloon, I did not like this trail. The gravel was hard to get a footing on and I was twisting my ankles frequently. And okay, the "gradual" incline for 7 miles just kinda sucked!

After the Rail Trail, you hop onto a paved trail and this area is exceptionally gorgeous .... but it's also starting to climb. At mile 12, I ran into my 'training for NYC' buddies and asked them if the course peaks the top at mile 13 (a few downhills would be really nice right now). They laughed and told me the worst is yet to come. Oh boy. I'm starting to have some problems with my lower back hurting and I can feel the temps rising and am starting to feel the ole glute pain coming back. For the next 4 miles, the hills are relentless. You run around the ski resort area and circle back at mile 16 where you finally get a flat section for about a mile before you start a little downhill. Okay, normally I would welcome the downhill (like at mile 12 when I asked my NYC group) but it's hard on your legs to go from one extreme to the other, especially the amount of uphill I HAD been doing and I felt I was doing some major damage to the quads by pulling back as to not go screaming down the hill.

I thought the most "interesting" part of the course was where you actually cut through the ski resort. I mean, you are literally running through where you would line up to get on a chairlift. there is no path, you are just on the grounds which is lined with ski shops and restaurants. I think at one point, you even go directly under a chairlift. But it's short-lived and you soon are in a very pretty residential area that is lined with old craftman houses. One pretty brutally steep hill that is sort, but steeper than anythning I've ever encountered in a marathon. I just walked up it as were everyone around me. Which, by the way, was down to a trickle of those I was running around - a very small marathon. At the top of the near vertical hill, you enter a very pretty residental area and are now at about mile 18 and the start of mostly downhill to the end.

Once you leave the residental area, you enter the bike path and vast, open lands. It's very pretty. One of the most beautiful on the course is passing by this big, old, beautiful white barn...which I guess is the entrance to the Sundance Film Festival. It's a vast, wide open space here and it's simply breath-taking. The course is on a bike path and soon it goes under the highway and you enter the last few miles in a wetland nature preserve. I got this second-wind and tried to pick up the pace - which worked for about 2 miles but once I got to mile 24, I was done. The sun was out in full-force, temps had to be in the high 70's; the cumulative races I had done in the weeks prior were letting my legs know they were dead; the antibiotic I was on for the sinus infection; the anxiety of going back to work; the anxiety of personal issues in my life; the fact I've done zero interval work in about 8 weeks, the altitude...and whatever other reasons for my sudden battle with the race.

The last two miles my times were hovering in the 11 minute/mile range -- and that has me a wee-bit concerned. I mean, if I held back for over a minute/mile for the entire race, I'd think I had a great deal of energy left in me to knock that baby out. I had nothing. Well, except when I saw the "26 mile" sign (my watch said I still had a half mile until I hit mile 26. Hum...), then I picked up the pace and was pretty pleased that I was back in the 9 minute range.

My friends met me after and it was so great to see them. What a great bunch! I got a flower and my medal and grabbed a chocolate milk from a wadding pool filled with ice. The best post-race food I've ever downed were the peaches at the finish line... I felt like I couldn't get enough.

I could indulge in a lot more about the weekend and what a great time I had; a great city to explore; great company.... but I am way overly tired and have been writing bits and pieces of this for the past 28 hours and it's getting pretty lengthy as it is. BTW, I finished in 4:13:55 and got 6th in my age group!

Jonathan, Me, Nicole


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sinus Infection #5982

And that's just within the past 3 years, when all these complications with my sinuses started. Last one: 2 days before Mt. Evans. Next one: 2 days before Park City Marathon. Arghhhhh!

I suspected something was up yesterday when I developed a headache that never wanted to leave, despite being on the borderline of overdosing on Tylenol. Suspicion was confirmed when I slept horribly last night, woke up at 4am with a killer headache and pressure on my sinuses like you wouldn't believe and then came home from work and crashed. Majorly. Quick trip up to Urgent Care, which honestly is such a luxury. I don't have to make an appointment, just walk in and 10 minutes later I'm out with a prescription for an antibiotic and nasal steroid. Sweet!

I forfeited my run today. That'd be failed #2 run for the week...but I'm not sure you count a run as a failure if you fail to even attempt it. I decided it was better with my sinus mess to just not run; I really do not feel that great and well, I have 26 miles to run in two days. I only had 4 miles on my plan. I didn't let Rob know. I've emailed him about 50 emails in the past 3 days and the last couple, when I got down to some more serious stuff, have not heard back so opted not to bother him more. If I wake up early tomorrow, I'll run a few miles but if I don't (that's be a miracle!) then I'm not going to worry about it.

I was so swamped at work today with late registration that I didn't have time to wallow further in self-pity over the article and now I'm not sure if my lifeless body is due to article or sinuses but I feel better about the mile and think once this mess is cleared in my head, I'm going to run that mile a lot better next week. I will!

Okay, packing awaits and I'd really love to get to be bed when most normal people do so going to cut this short tonight and sign off. Next blog from the state of Utah....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Successfully Failed Mile

When I was in younger, my track coach had us do a timed mile about once a month. He could use that time to gauge where not only if our fitness levels were improving but also just to get us in the mental game of racing. He learned a lot about our current psyche and if he had a little head-game strategy work (pep talk :) ). Most of the time, he could tell you beforehand how we'd perform just from the pre-run banter - or lack thereof.

I've been running pretty much non-stop since my college days but not until I got serious with my training and, in particular, marathon training, did I fit this timed mile back into my program. And like my premonition coach, I can almost tell how I will perform well before I step foot on the track. I sensed today's mile was not going to bode well.

Today was timed mile #2 post-Boston Marathon and pre-Portland Marathon. The first one went well (though hard, who enjoys running a full mile at full throttle?). I could have told you before I walked out my front door at 5:10a.m. that today's mile was not going to go well: I had written a blurb for Women's Health Magazine that was suppose to be on yesterday's newsstands but it didn't make the cut and alas, I was bummed. happens frequently but this piece I invested a great deal of time and it was important to me. Anyway, my attitude when I hit the track this morning was sour.

I wish I had the mental strength to make myself hurt a little on the track to abate the hurt I was feeling inside. You know, a little physical self-inflicted pain to make the, "I'm a failure...." pain go away. I know I'm not a complete failure...but man, it's hard sometimes to pull yourself up. I had hoped a hard mile would do the trick. It did not.

Rob met me at the track for my 2nd timed mile. I so badly wanted to show him my article in the mag. So as soon as he arrived at 5:30, after I had done my one mile warm up and some stretching, tears were starting to form - I was so disappointed I didn't have the magazine I had told him I would. We talked a little and then all I wanted to do was get that mile done and on the books.

I decided not to wear my watch; I want to learn to "feel" my pace, be it easy, tempo, or excruciating intervals. I think this is kinda important so that you learn what your body feels rather than what the watch says. I decide to let Rob use the "thumb up" or "thumbs down" approach to tell me to pick up or slow down my pace. Not one of my smartest moves. My first 400, I was right on pace target (6:35 was the last recorded time. I had hoped to improve). But I felt I was pushing it too hard. I couldn't get in a groove. My mind was not focused. I was having problems breathing. The article was on my mind. My PR in Portland was on my mind. You name it, it entered my head and I couldn't get into a comfortable pace. Second 400, I got a thumbs up -- meaning I needed to pick up the pace. I lost it. I was hurting so bad and I knew I couldn't push it harder for two more laps. So I quit. I just stopped and quit. Done. I've never quit. Never.

I don't know what possessed me to stop other than I just couldn't get into it and I wanted to quit rather than the watch read a number higher than 6:35. Some days we just don't have what it takes and today was one...but I felt it more beneficial for my fragile mind to just stop without a number than that number be higher than I wanted it to be. I ran another 800 at just a slighter better pace..but I know I cannot combine the two 800's for a timed mile. I just did it because I wanted to. I felt I needed to.
I feel really bad that I wasted Rob's hour this morning.... but just maybe he's actually "seeing" the anguish I face instead of hearing about it for two years. A visual display is worth a lot more than a written one, no matter how well written. Still, I am sorry he had to get up so early for this.

I am headed out of town this weekend to run the Park City Marathon with a group I've been working with. I will not race it, I will just run it for training for Portland. I have no problem running 26+ miles for a long training run, I actually prefer it. Pre-Boston, I got my longest run up to 30. I have a lot of mental problems running, as you can tell, and I've just always believed that if I (and I'm only talking what works for ME here) can run longer then the upcoming race distance, then I have an advantage mentally believing I CAN run 26 miles because I've already done it. As long as I run it slow. Anyway, upon my return, I plan to get back out there on the track, article out of my mind, head on straight, and knock off that timed mile once and for all!! Most of my day I had a feeling of "failure" for not at least finishing what I started....but as the day has progressed, I started feeling that sometimes, I need days like this so maybe I don't take good running days for granted and get lazy. But really what I think what today did was teach me how to be a little bit stronger in the upcoming marathon mental game. If the marathon were easy, I wouldn't be doing it.

Today was a success even though I failed.
Oh, and here's a little sideline pick-me-up note: I was at the grocery store today checking out and the clerk (male) said, "Are you a dancer?" Perplexed, I just looked at him and muttered, "Huh?" He proceeded to tell me that he couldn't help but notice my muscle tone and that I looked "stunningly athletic." Hum...not words I'd choose but okay, I'll take it. I'm not sure if he was trying to pick me up or just being overly friendly (ha), I can't tell the difference between that stuff anymore, but when I told him that no, I was not a dancer but rather a runner, he was noticably impressed, asking me a million running related questions. Yeah, nothing like a little ego boosting admiration to pump some fuel back into the running tank! Thanks Mr. King Soopers check out man!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The day before back to work

I have to go back to work tomorrow. I know all you year-round workers aren't too sympathetic towards me right now. I understand. About a week ago, I was having a lot of anxiety about it but I'm okay with it now. Getting back into a routine will be sort of nice. At least for a couple weeks anyway.

I got a late start for my run today but it was really nice and cool today so that worked out well. I ordered a Garmin charger but it had not come in yet so I have really no idea what I ran my tempo run in today because my Garmin is dead. But I DO know 1) it was longer than the 4 on my schedule and 2) it was faster than race pace. Not sure what pace but it was much quick. Storms started rolling in as I was finishing, lightening storms; glad I was done when I was. my legs are feeling better and better with each passing hour. By tomorrow they should be back to 100%.

A wee-bit bummed (okay, more than that) about some stuff I did for Dimity on running was not in the magazine, which came out today. I encourage those wanting to get a start on a running program for weight loss read it though (even if I'm not mentioned. Sigh). Sept issue of Women's Health.

Meeting Rob in the morning, dark morning since that's what it is now at 5:30am, for another timed mile. Hope I there's improvement over last timed mile...we'll see where my mindset is. I think I may be a tad physically improved but not sure about the rest.

5.5 miles run

Monday, August 17, 2009

Major PP Muscle Soreness

I never got the type of soreness one gets the day after a marathon that I got with Pikes Peak; instead, I got some major soreness in places I never knew could be sore. Most predominate was lower, outside hamstrings. Never had it there before. Owie. I thought about going for a swim on Sunday but decided total rest was probably my best antidote. This morning I was pretty stiff still and a wee-bit too much to drink last night (thanks for that, Paula) so when 5:00 rolled around to go workout, I was really kinda hurting. But I went and it was good to do a little weights and Rob stretched my legs some, too. I guess the soreness is the reward for all the work, huh? Well...maybe not in this case but honestly, that's what I tell myself many times during a marathon.

So a slower mileage week this week, which I think my body and my mentality, is ready for. I have a marathon to do on Saturday. Not for a time's strictly for training. Meeting some people I work with there for the race and decided I'd just do it, since I'm there, and practice maintaining a pace, hydration, nutrition, etc. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out. This will be the 3rd race in as many weekends... but oh yeah, not viewing Park City as a "race" now are we!!
Abbey and I went to see 'The Time Traveler's Wife' tonight - not highly recommended by either her nor I. Just not a good story, in my opinion. Didn't even see any good previews.
Back to work on Wed. :(. Very sad about that!!
Tomorrow short tempo run. Girls' night out tomorrow night, too! All girls welcome :)
Thanks for all the comments on the Pikes Peak blog!! Much appreciated!
3 miles run

Week 32 Totals

Week 32 Totals
Weeks running total: 52
2009 running total: 1221.07
Weight training this week: 2

Pikes Peak Ascent 4:36 (there's gotta be about 13 virtual miles in this weeks' total...)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I bid Pikes Peak Good Riddance. I Hope.

I wrote this entire blog yesterday but accidentally hit some button and it mysteriously disappeared. Ugh. So here I go again....

As you know, I agonized for two days about what to wear, I was so worried about falling temperatures as I climbed 8000'. I also know Colorado weather in the mountains can change in a heartbeat; I had to be prepared. I have lived in Colorado for many years, and pretty outdoorsy, and even worked at REI for a stretch - so I own a boatload of outdoor gear. But I felt I didn't have what I needed...and I wasn't even sure what that need was. I combed my super-outdoorsy girlfriend's closet for about an hour, stealing some wind-proof gloves; her brand new, never worn way cool windbreaker and her wool hat. I then spent an hour in the local sporting good store trying on, and purchasing, capri-length tights - thinking these would be the happy compromise for my leg as I was so torn between shorts and long pants.

Turns out, I needed none of it; the weather couldn't have been more perfect. Starting in the low 60's at the start, quickly warming, until you reach much higher elevations, and then only needed my jacket for about the last 2 miles. That's pretty rare for any 14er, especially Pikes Peak. 100% opposite complete from last year's weather.

I won't go into every detail of that grueling race but will say that I am done with it and hope I have the common sense to never do it again. As I was climbing, I actually was feeling pretty well. I ran where I could and walked when I couldn't. There's just nothing you can do about that - your body either is part mountain goat or it is not. Mine is not. I got to the first check point at mile 7.64 in 2:07, feeling pretty stoked I had made easily made the cut off of 3-hours (still, I made it to this point last year in about 2 minutes less. In worse weather. So I was a little bewildered. But, I hadn't been sweating profusely until this point, like today, either). The second check point, mile 10.2 I hit at exactly 3-hours, well below the 4:15 check point. I am really encouraged because I am feeling really good and I am making making some ground. I also start thinking that I'm going to be able to make the summit in 4:15, the required time that you need to be able to run in wave 1.

That ALL changed not too long after the second check point.

I cannot express in words how physically demanding this course is. I mean, 8000' in 13.5 miles is steep. It's more than steep, it's demoralizing. After you leave mile 10, you start to also leave tree-line and thus, the trail turns to sheer rock. No more dirt to soften the trail and no trees to block some wind. You are totally exposed and navigating large outcrops of granite. My legs turned every direction just to take one step over a rock. It's no wonder today my legs muscles are sore in places I didn't know muscles existed.

But what got me most was the lack of air. I have hiked plenty of 14ers and felt I was pretty acclimated to air at 50% less than when I started but I guess I've never encountered a continuous hard vertical climb, without stopping to rest some, when scaling these things. And I can honestly say I've never climbed anything so brutal as the end at PP. I was breathing okay, unlike many around me whose wheeze was really starting to get on my nerves, but my heart was pounding harder than I think it ever has just to keep up with what little air I could get in my lungs. If I stopped to get a little extra breath, I would start to get light headed so it was easier to keep moving forward. I'd look down at the ground and my one prevailing thought was that for each step forward, I was one more step to the finish. I you've seen those documentaries about Mt. Everest where people comment you can barely move more than a step pre minute...I could relate. I looked at others around me and was in awe at the crawl we were producing.

My hopes of finishing under 4:15, which had only entered my head somewhere about mile 10, was quickly diminishing. It took me an hour and 36 minutes to go the last 3 1/2 miles and 40 minutes alone to go the last mile. I looked up with one mile to go and figure there is no way in hell I'd be able to climb another 800' in a mile.

Somehow I made the summit, crossing in 4:36. It was one of those feelings of joy as I finally hauled myself up that thing; something that has been on my wish list for the past 24 years since I first moved to Colorado.  If I hadn't had to go to the bathroom so bad from step one and never wanting to take the time to do so at the first check point, I probably would have had a few emotional tears to shed. Instead, I got my medal, found the restroom (which was in the medical room - I was relieved I wasn't one of those lying on a bed with an IV in my arm), got my killer finisher's black jacket and a few grapes then made my way to the line to catch a shuttle back down to the bottom. I had a great conversation on the shuttle wtih a woman who just ran the Big Sur Marathon in 3:55 and qualified for Boston with that time.  She was my hero of the day.  She was one of many.

I got down to the bottom at the start line finally yet had not heard from my NYC friend, Hiroshi (who, btw, is doing the full marathon today...after doing the ascent yesterday). I wandered around a little bit and ate a few bites of this gross sandwich from Subway (I couldn't believe how starving I was. But it was a good 7 + hours since I last ate) and decided Hiroshi had gone back to his hotel and I'd just check in which him later. As soon as I got to my car, though, he called me - he had just gotten to the bottom. I drove back then to the start and met up with him for a bit; he had a bad race and finished in about 5-hours. He was bummed and very concerned how he would fare today on his full marathon. I can't even imagine making my way up that thing again today. I'm sure he'll do well..but I fully understood his dilemma. While standing there talking to him, Jay from the Prostate group walked by with his friend and we caught up. He finished 4:12 and was very happy about that, a vast improvement from last year's 4:40. He said that Craig M. finished in 3:22 and Matt in 3:26.
I've determined that my 41st place finish in my age group is actually pretty good. I am not a mountain hill climber and I do not train to be one. I was a little bummed that I didn't make the 4:15 first wave cup-off time but unless I want to devote my training to uphill trail running, I will never improve enough to knock 20 minutes off my time. And that's okay, I am fine with that. I am 46, I have a slew of other things I want to accomplish, and Pikes Peak is a check mark off my bucket list of challenging races I've wanted to do. I bid Pikes Peak good riddance let's and bring on the next challenge: I'm ready!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prepping for Pikes Peak

It's almost 10:00 and I'm almost done packing. Sorta.

I have been in a frenzy all day about what to wear. I think it's almost better to be in the dark about how drastically the weather can change from 6000' to 14,100' cuz I have half my house packed I and somehow need to get it around my waist and up that mountain tomorrow. At least the weather forecast isn't calling for rain. Until the afternoon. And well, I may be still on that mountain by "afternoon." My biggest dilemma? What to wear on my legs. Shorts? Great at the start, but too cold at the top? Pants? Too hot at the start but may be necessary at the top? I have been agonizing about this for literally two days.

I went to Dicks Sporting Goods today, via the advice of my friend and Big Sur running-mate, Kathryn (whom I spent a great hour today combing her closet for anything I may need. She was not, however, hiding any sports psychotherapists unfortunately) and decided it was time to buy a pair of capri tights. A good compromise between shorts and pants, yes???!!??

The only problem: I'm wearing them right now and I'm really way too warm! ugh.

So here's what I have so far:
- Tights
- Sleeveless shirt with attached jog bra
- Short sleeved technical shirt
- Long sleeved technical shirt
- Rain jacket - not sure whether to wear Kathryn's, which is a size too small (size XS. Oh please! who wears an XS?) but super light-weight or my own, which is a size too big and a pound too heavy. I'll be tormented with this thought at least until a half hour before race time, when I'll undoubtedly make the wrong choice.
- Warm Hat (pic below - thanks to Kathryn)
- Gloves - another sore contention: light weight or heavy wind-proof. Last year, my gloves were soaked all the way through and had the race not been forced to turn back, wondered if I was going to have to stop at the medical tent and get some tape to wrap my hands - they were frozen to the core. So I'm very concerned about this.
- Wicking Socks that go over my ankles (less chance of gravel to get in your shoe)
- Trail runners (which I just got this summer and had hoped to break in more. They are comfy though. But also gave me a blister on my little right toe. Need to Band-Aid that profusely before I put on socks!).
- Water
- Gu
- Sport Beans
- Sunglasses
- Baseball cap
- 2 Watches (in case my Garmin cops an attitude and quits, like it did in Georgetown, I have a back up)
- Tylenol
- Aleve
- Band-Aids
- Sport Legs (opps, ran out). Alternative: D-Ribose
- Accelerade
- Bandana
- iPod (shu, quiet....don't tell anyone, they are banned. Still questionable if I take it)
- Camera
- Phone
- Body Glide (applied beforehand)
- Sunscreen (also applied beforehand)
- Oatmeal (to eat an hour before - somehow)
- Banana (to eat a half hour before)
- Car Key wonder I have a headache! I'm also melting in these half tights. ugh.

I did somehow manage to make it to the pool today to swim some laps...I think it was just what I needed (despite how pressed for time I was. Remember that book club thing from yesterday's blog???). I even came up with a plan post Portland. :).

I'll fine-tune that plan tomorrow - after all, I have a good 5-hours to think about it.

Thanks for the hat, Kathryn!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Butterfly's Pace

As I was running over at the park today, this butterfly was flying around my head for a few of the miles I was running; he was being my pacing guide I guess.

I feel summer slipping away... I'm going to miss it. Yesterday when I went to workout at 5:30am, it was dark my entire drive. Two weeks ago it was light by the time I reached the gym. Not yesterday *sigh*.

I guess if there's anything that is remotely positive about summer ending it's that autumn brings cooler temps and cooler temps mean better running. Hopefully. I can't even tell you how many articles I read on RW blog about how no one can run in this heat. We run, but we suffer. Us runners are all about suffering....but come August, we're pretty tired of constantly soaked running attire. But I'd rather wear sweat-soaked-stuck-to-my-skin shorts and sleeveless shirts than no-skin-showing long pants and jackets. And not because I'm a big into showing the world my skin, it's just that I hate being constricted with so much material when I'm running. Yuck.

Well, no time to dwell on the inevitable.

My legs are so stiff from Tuesday's long run. I got a pretty late start to my tempo run (I met a client at 6am for some intervals, came home and started cleaning, until it was way too warm to be outside running. Why was I cleaning my house in prime running temps when I could easily have done it any other time today? Procrastination is not a good quality to possess). I ate too much food and had a stomachache during my run. I didn't have a great tempo run. Which seems to be pretty much the standard. All summer. I started out okay for about 3 miles (8:20 pace. Goal wasn't fast, goal was race-pace) then that was it. That's all the life I had in me. I ran 5x800's with Ann this morning but they weren't all out and felt they were actually a good workout so I don't think it was a matter of running too much prior. I think it was just a combo of the issues listed above.

I met Rob the other night for a little one-on-one whine-fest. I'm whining about running. Go figure. Pikes Peak this Saturday: I don't want to do it. Colorado Relay on the 11-12th of Sept: I don't want to do it. Portland: I fear it. I fear I can't run it the way I want to. Ok, so I have two major upcoming races I don't want to do and one gigantic race I am second-guessing why I signed up. I think I just need to get Pikes Peak done and Park City the following weekend (*just for training!!!!!!*) and then I think my mentality is going to change towards Portland. Let's hope.

A guy emailed me today who found me via my pink blog. He has written some articles on Piriformis Syndrome (you know, that major pain in the butt - literally - that has been dogging me for 3 months. Just in the past week has it started feeling a lot better. Thank you!!!). I told him I'd link his site to my blog, and will do that here eventually, but for now you can click on the link above to read more. I am happy to see that the core work I've doing is the "if you can only do one exercise, this would be it" to help fix the problem and not only stretching. Score one for me! For once.

I have nothing even remotely prepared for Pikes Peak on Saturday. I need to get my act together tomorrow morning and get it together. I have book club in the afternoon (no, I did not read the book. I'm not even sure what the name is. No one even bothers telling me anymore. Ha) and I probably would bail on book club to get ready for PP but I am in charge of the food this month. I still need to think about what food.

Here's a couple pictures of my friend, Lisa's, visit. She went to college with me but several years ago bought a big sailboat and left her Seattle life and sailed around a lot of the world, and landed permanently in Australia. She was back in Iowa for the past several weeks and came to visit me on her way back to Aussie-land. We had a great time, as always, and managed to meet up with a fellow past co-worker from Colorado Springs many life-times ago (picture #2). I always miss her when she leaves and feel her absence the past couple days. Safe travels, Lisa!

10 miles

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

a Tuesday 23

I can't ever remember being so tired as I am right now. Okay, maybe it was just last week...but wow, I AM really tired. Gonna be a short blog; need to get up on 6 hours to weight train.

I love these non-working days when I can do a long run anywhere I need to. Today's 23 miler fit perfectly for a Tuesday coming off the Georgetown race last Saturday and doing Pikes Peak Ascent this Saturday. Encountered a gazillion bikers on their way to work today, though, that I normally don't see on the weekends. But a lot less runners, too.
Chose my typical long run path on the Cherry Creek Trail and opted to run on it the entire way and not take a side road at the country club like I sometimes do. I found this cool waterfall when it was close to my turn around point; it must be new because I'm sure I would have seen it before, it really stands out. I have not ventured down this far on this path in many months so maybe it really is new. Pictures below.

I felt pretty good today on my run, especially at the beginning. I wanted to make sure my pace was always read in the 9's. No 8:33's or 10:15's....everything in the 9's. With about 7 miles to go, I noticed my mid-back starting to hurt some. This also happened in Georgetown and a few longer runs before that. Not sure what's going on there. About mile 5, I started getting pretty tired. I'm not sure I was getting enough nutrition in me either. Also about mile 5, the temperatures were warming up and I could definitely feel it affecting my running. I tried to keep up my 9's and was fairly successful..most of the time. Averaged 9:23 today. That's a good number for me. Not sure how I'm going to manage 26 in less than 2 weeks but it will all be okay :)
My college friend, Lisa, who now lives in Australia has been here visiting since yesterday. She is leaving tomorrow. Very sad! We've been so busy the past two days.....
Okay, well past tired so off to bed.
23 miles run

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week 31

Week 31 Totals
Weeks running total: 25.65
2009 running total: 1161.07
Weight training this week: 2
Georgetown Half Marathon: 1:44:52

3 E + Stretch-n

Woke at 5am and ridiculous that I can't at least sleep til at least 5:30 - ha.

But there's such a peaceful calmness at that hour on a Sunday morning, I actually enjoyed sitting by the window and doing some writing.

As expected, my quads are sore today. Not terribly, I can walk fine but they are certainly sore. After the sun came up and I did a couple loads of laundry, I ran over to the track for an easy 3 mile shake-out run. Afterwards, I sat on the infield, having the entire place to myself for most of the time (a guy came about the time I was leaving), and I stretched my achy legs for about 20 minutes, doing some ab rockers and push ups in between stretches. It felt great!! I wish I had the time to do 20 minutes of stretching everyday! Or rather, I wish I would make the time to stretch for 20 minutes everyday!

I popped my blood blister and a gallon of blood spewed out. FUN!

With my new "I'm not going to let little things bother me" attitude, I'm slightly unhappy with the fact that I was scheduled to work out with Rob tomorrow morning but due to his double booking and failing to inform me that my 5:30 time slot was contingent on moving another client around, I am not going to be able to work out with him tomorrow because the other chick won't move her time. I asked him last week to let me know when I could work out this week because I had a slew of thing I needed to schedule for the week, one which included having my friend schedule her train ticket to my availability to come get her. I did my arranging around the time he gave me and he can't do that time with me. ??? I don't mind working out by myself, but I had really wanted to talk to him about the Georgetown race and my concerns and whatnot and that's why I'm kinda "bothered" right now - despite my new things-aren't-going-to-bother-me attitude. :). Seems like the things I hire him to do sometimes fall to the wayside and somehow, it ends up my fault.

Okay, that's all I'm going to say about it cuz it's only making me more upset. I just find it kinda unprofessional and sad and I had to mention it. I just really wanted to talk to him about the race while it was still at the forefront of my thoughts and not lost with the week's activities!!

A friend I met on RW blog sites told me, amongst other things, "maybe the body just wasn't into it, making it feel like you were pushing harder than you really were." I guess I never thought of that before...maybe all the obstacles I endured in this race, though all pretty minor (bladder, no watch, torn up road, sea level vacation....etc.) all came together and just made me feel like my very hard effort was just hard that day and that all will be okay at the marathon. I don't know...but it did make my mind feel a little better.

Elaine is home from her Utah vacation, I just got an email from her. I've missed her. Welcome home, Elaine! What I am going to do after StG without you?

Okay, going to get up and workout at 5:30 on my own I guess so better close and get to bed! Picking up my Australia friend (formerly Iowa friend, Lisa, at the train at 7:15 am tomorrow for a couple days of girl-fest fun! Can't wait!

Oh, btw, found my regular Nike running watch; it was in a bag with my hair accessories that I apparently had not unpacked yet. I just ordered another watch this morning :/. Oh well, can never have too many running watches...and this just a cheap thing. I do need to get my Garmin accessories from Rob so I can return that watch, if needed. Dennis said the charge was holding so maybe it just got bumped or something before the race and thus was dead. I don't have a clue....

3 miles run

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Watchless Georgetown Half

First, let me just say that my super cool, pink, leopard print Nike socks I bought in Boston gave me a blood blister. Will not wear these puppies again for a race. Dennis made the comment after the race how he had no blisters today. He gave them to me; I have never had a blister in my life running - other than when I ran Pikes Peak when it was raining and my feet were soaked. Anyway, socks are officially banned from further races. They can, however, be worn just for training.

It wasn't until Sunday that I decided to do the Georgetown half marathon - I was in limbo about doing it because of a slew up upcoming other races I have, including Pikes Peak Ascent next weekend (8000' up in 13 miles. *gulp*). Talked with Rob about it and he thought it would be a good idea to run it in prep for Portland. Ok, I'm game.

Though my thermometer read 70 degrees in Denver, it had to be about 40 at the start of the race in Georgetown this morning. I MUST remember this next year and wear a fleece coat and GLOVES! I was so cold I and couldn't stop shivering. The worst, of course, is when you shread what little layers I actually did bring and go to line up. That's a side note so that when I read this blog a year from now, if I do this race again, I want to remember how cold it was so that I remember to dress more warmly for the weather.

I have a watch issue: I cannot find my regular Nike running watch (sans pacer option). I know I had it when I got home from vacation but it is nowhere to be found. On top of that, I cannot find the charger to my Garmin watch. That, I thought I packed for my trip but when I got to Iowa, it was not in my suitcase and when my second suitcase arrived in Iowa later, it was not in that one either. I figured I forgot it at home - though I could swear I packed it. Got home and no, it was not in it's usual charging spot. I am now left with only my heart rate monitor watch, which is fine, but I don't care for the display; it's a bit hard to read. This poses a slight problem when running - and running a race where I am notorious for going out too fast and thus need to stay on a conservative pace.

So Dennis took my Garmin last night and charged it overnight so that I could use it today, since my preference of watches for racing, the Nike, is MIA. I figured this watch was better than my hr watch because in the sunlight, it is very difficult to read the display of my hr watch. In a half frozen state, I put on my Garmin and instantly, it reads it has 2% life left. In other words, it's almost dead. 5 minutes later, after bathroom break, it was dead. Dennis said it was 100% charged last night so apparently, there is something wrong with it. It's battery is either not holding it's life or it somehow accidentally was running all morning. We don't think it was the later and so Dennis took it to charge it and see if it is the battery. If so, then I need to return it because the batteries for these things are like ridiculous and it should be covered by the warranty. Anyway, this whole no-life-in-the-battery left me watchless. For a race. I started to slightly panic.

Dennis was trying to get me to use his Garmin but no way, I know that pacing thing is very important to him. I moved to plan B which was my iPod - it has a stopwatch. I've never used it so I played around with is a few minutes and found out it actually does laps! Okay, I think for a very brief moment that this may work. But really, I knew it was going to be such a hassle unclipping it off my shorts and finding the display and hitting 'lap.' But I have no other choice.

By the time the gun went off, I had already messed it up. I played with it a few seconds and got it working.

Mile 1 told me I was doing a 10:19 and I had to practically bring the entire iPod up to my eyeball to see it. I HAD to be going faster than a 10:19 - I felt faster than a 10:19.

I had to pee. Badly.

I missed the mile 2 marker and passed a slew of portapotties. I should have stopped here and went but they are so far off the road and I just didn't want to kill that much time after just running a 10:19 (later, it was a consensus that the first mile had to be off, everyone commented about that). Mile 3 I pulled the whole iPod off my body and hit 'lap' but I can't read it, the glare is horrible and the screen is itty-bitty. I am running clueless. This is a very odd feeling!! Very!

My legs felt heavy. I'm thinking that this is because I was at sea level for almost 2 weeks but who knows for sure. I asked Rob but he never got back to me on that. I also just didn't feel "good." Not bad, but not good. I felt I had a pretty quick pace going and most likely, was going too fast. When I got to mile 4, I hit the pace button again and it said something in the 8 minute range. Another mile or two later, it told me about 7:15 range. I was either all over the map or my iPod was not the most reliable stopwatch - I think it was the later.

I actually start feeling a little better yet feel that my clip is pretty strong. I wonder if I can sustain it. I now start looking around for someone, anyone, that has a Garmin and I can verify what pace I'm running. It was about mile 8 before I found someone and 3 times total, I asked found someone with a Garmin and asked what pace we were running. I needed to know if my pace was too fast, as I was suspecting it was. Each time I asked, I was about a 7:35 - 7:40 pace. Eeeek. This IS too fast. But I was feeling pretty good. And I thought if I could keep up this pace, I was going to go well beyond a sub 1:44.

Runner's Edge of the Rockies, a local Denver running group, had a slew of runners all around me - evident by their red technical sleeveless shirts that read on the back: "To Give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Okay, I get it already. I followed these red shirts to the end and I gave it my best.

I can say with 100% certainty that I gave that race my 100% effort. I do not think I slowed considerably at the end. I was tired, I couldn't have run another mile at that pace, but I did not slow down. I felt in my heart I ran a PR today; I have never felt I pushed a race that hard. Ever.

The clock read a gun time of about 1:45:10. I was a little shocked. Stunned. Perplexed.

It didn't occur to me to ask anyone around me what their time was when I crossed the finish line and plus, I still had not gone to the bathroom and wow, I had to go bad!! I popped in the portapotty and afterwards, asked a few people that were coming in what their times were. I was slightly encouraged because I saw a girl that I swear I had passed in the last mile and she said she ran a 1:43:50. In my mind, I'm now thinking the clock was off and I ran a 1:43:30 or something. I FELT I ran a 1:43:30. I really felt I put so much into this race and felt it had to be quick - especially since those check times along the course were verifying I was running faster than ever in a half marathon.

The whole mystery of the unknown finish time is a very odd feeling. Made me a little anxious, really.

But it wasn't meant to be and officially, I ended up with a 1:44:50. And 4th in my age group, missing the mining pan award (we're in gold mining country here) by one place. Third place turned out to be almost a full minute ahead - which somehow makes me feel better that I didn't miss it by a mere few seconds. This is also the fastest time I have ever recorded on this course.

Still, I can't be a bit in question mark mode right now. I'm pleased with my time, it's very respectable. I'm stoked with my 4th place placement in what is a very large field of highly competitive runners. I'm elated with my effort and that, pace time unknown, managed to maintain a constant push through the end. I'm thrilled my glute did not bother me while running.

What's bothering me, I guess, is the fact that my time of 1:44:50 is no better than my Atlanta time back in March. I'm suppose to be getting better. I'm suppose to be improving. I've been working hard. I gave this race every single drop of energy I had. Yet my half marathon time has not improved.

I'm not sure if it IS because I have not improved. Maybe it's because I spent almost two weeks at sea level and have just recently returned and not acclimated fully to the altitude. Maybe it's because this race WAS at altitude and Atlanta was run at sea level (Josh, the art teacher at school, would disagree with this: he claims his altitude training study/research friend says there is no perks in training high and racing low. Sleeping high and racing low, yes, but not training high and racing low. Hum...). Maybe the heavy leg syndrome I has at the start was lactic acid build up from being at lower altitude for so long. Maybe it was the 64 miles I ran last week. Maybe that stretch of the course where the road was dug up and you had to be extra careful of protruding rocks, caused a slower time (Dennis has an acquaintance, BSG, that will swear he could have knocked off an additional minute if not for that stretched that slowed him down. He is a little more then obsessed with this running thing, he would know more than anyone if his pace is slowed due to this road mess). Maybe it's because I'm feeling the onset of a cold (??) Maybe. I'm not sure. The numbers, when plugged into various prediction calculators, tell me today's time will give me anywhere between 3 :38 - 3:43 in Portland. I know one really needs to use these predictions with a grain of salt, but there is some validity in the fact that given a certain time, that's what your legs can do. And do no more. I want to run a 3:35 - 3:40 in Portland!

I have a few more weeks of very hard training and I'm going to work like crazy. I vow to get my weight and body fat to where I want them (down 5 lbs weight, 3% bf) before I get to Portland - I know it will make a couple minutes difference, and I'm going to pray that the Running Gods give me cool temperatures in Portland to land me a few more minutes. But I also want to start preparing myself mentally for the possibility that this may not happen. I think of all the ambitious goals I've set, even Boston qualifying, this is one that is the closest to being on the border of making it or not. Let's hope for making it!! :)

I have to say a huge congrats to Ann, my client and friend, whom ran a course PR today. She will be running Top Of Utah Marathon here in 6 weeks. I am very excited for her.

Dennis ran today with a little hip pain but not like it had been so I am encouraged by that - though I know he's probably not overly happy right now. Good job, Dennis!

I came home from the race and took an ice bath; my quads are tight and I know they are going to be hurting some tomorrow. The ice felt great. My legs are going to be sore, nonetheless.

13.1 miles

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I forgot to blog??!!??

Okay so I went to bed last night and woke up at my usual 3am and realized I didn't blog last night. I still must be in vacation mode - though reality has certainly struck with a vengeance and I feel like I'm home. I'm overwhelmed with life right now, way too much to do!

So yesterday I ran some hills. There's a big ole hill about 2 1/2 miles from me that is pretty demoralizing - it goes straight up. And it's long. I actually like running it - it's an incredible workout. I ran the monster hill twice. But twice was enough and I was tired at the bottom of the second time down so headed home. 6 1/2 miles total.

This morning, I felt yesterday's run and my legs didn't want to cooperate. I was suppose to run 10 minutes easy, 20 at race pace, 15 easy. I don't have a watch, I've not only happened to misplace my Garmin charger and thus my Garmin is defunct, I cannot find my favorite Nike watch. I'm left with no other timing device other than my heart rate monitor watch. Though pink, it's not my favorite watch - I don't like the display screen. But I had to wear it; I had no other option. Anyway, it didn't matter what I wore on my wrist, could have been a faceless rubber band - I didn't have a lot of energy to run. And I decided that's okay - I'm not upset in the least. I think my body's still in recovery mode from last week and besides, I'm doing Georgetown 1/2 on Saturday so playing it easy this week anyway. Met Rob for some weight training that about kicked my butt tonight. That was tough! I cannot do push ups on a stability ball to save my life!! Anyway, felt good but very tough. Immediately after, went to met Ann, a client, to go do her workout. So I got a lot of weight training in tonight. I hope it helps me sleep better!

I have to work in the morning (what's that??!!??) and still have some writing to do for Dimity - she and Sarah are writing a book and Dimity asked me to do a small segment about running progressions. I'm super excited about that!!! So going to close and get that done so that I don't die tomorrow.

yesterday: 6.5 miles run
Today: 5 miles run, 1 killer weight training

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm Home

It's been a whirlwind past two weeks and I enjoyed my time immensely...but I'm glad to be home. Now starts the rat-race of getting back to school stuff ready and uh yeah, going back to work. ugh.

I am tired today. I woke up about 4am and laid there for eternity....or until it was time to go workout, which was at 6:30. I hate this not sleeping thing. Comes and goes. Weight training went fine, but my body fat and my weight is slightly up. I don't get it cuz I ran a boat load of miles and I worked out more than I usually do. I ate well ... until about Friday, then I sort of gave up trying. So anyway, back to reality and to get back on track!!

Microwave dead upon my return so spend a good chunk of today getting a new one. The antique we have needed to be replaced, it was an eyesore but it worked it's magic for the past 26 years, which is how old my house is. I took some really fast measurements; I hope this new contraption fits into the wall of the old one. I'm kinda excited for it. Came home from microwave shopping and took a very brief nap. Suppose to run about 5 miles tonight but I only did a couple...I'm just so tired. I'll try to make up a few miles tomorrow.

While we were in Chicago yesterday, we went to the Sear's Tower and the boys loved standing on that new glass ledge that is totally glass: top, bottom, and sides. I wouldn't go on it. I got close and I looked out and through the bottom but I would not stand on the thing. Toooo scary! Picture above is of them on the glass ledge, viewed through one of the windows.
Gonna hit my pillow early and try to get more sleep. I found out today that you CAN order Marriott pillows; they are heaven, I'm going to have to get one!
3.15 miles run

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week 30

Week 30
TotalWeeks running total: 64
2009 running total: 1135.42
Weight training this weeek: 3

Small-town Michigan to Big-town Chicago

I have left small-town Grand Haven and am now in the big-town of Chicago. I have been gone almost two weeks; after tomorrow's big city exploration, I will be ready to go home!

Yesterday was a miserable day at the beach and I desperately wanted to go to Chicago last night. I was quickly vetoed; the kids all wanted to go to the grand finale fireworks display last night. During the parade yesterday morning, it rained. I froze. We went to our friend's house early because the beach was too cold to go to and we just hung out there for what seemed like ever. I was so tired and really just wanted to get out of town. Abbey and I went and rented a movie while the rest of the crew ventured downtown to watch fireworks. I wasn't even able to watch the entire movie, I was way too tired; it is still sitting in my laptop, I need to return it to the nearest Redbox.

Got up early .. and I mean EARLY (like 4:30. Which is 2:30 Colorado time. I couldn't sleep). Laid around awhile and then finally got up to go for a run. My legs are tired. I'll admit it. I ran about 8 miles....I'd hoped I could pick up the pace a tad but I couldn't. I sent Rob an email with my log for the week and told him I needed a lower mileage week this week. Haven't heard back from him yet but I think he'll concur. I hope I get my plan before tomorrow morning.

Finally got out of Michigan late this morning and we headed to Chicago. Got here a little after lunch time and toured the Museum of Science and Industry. Always a cool place to visit. Brendan especially enjoyed the flight simulator on the Navy fighter plane and later Ryan and Abbey went to the Harry Potter exhibit with my cousin and her boys (they live in the north suburbs of Chicago) and I went with Brendan to see the U-505 submarine tour, which was way cool!!!

Brendan in front of the United 727 plane at Museum of Sci. and Ind.

Headed out of the museum about 5:00 to meet my other cousin and his wife for dinner. This town is so crazy, took us an hour to go about 15 miles - traffic was ridiculous! But we had a great dinner and it was so nice to spend time with my cousins that I so rarely ever get to see. My cousin, Doug, I have not seen in probably 20 years.

Me; my cousin, Doug; Doug's wife, Kristie; my other cousin's wife, Carrie

Hang at the hotel in Chicago right now, getting caught up on some writing and a ton of emails. My ankle still itches from the bee bite. My body very tired from the high mileage week and early morning runs so going to head to bed here soon. Looking forward to tomorrow as we go to the Sear's Tower and do a few other sight seeing things. Then home!

Happy Birthday to my twin boys today!!!!

8 miles run today