Monday, December 14, 2009

Triad Trail Race Series 10k

Saturday morning I woke up at 5:00 am to drive just over 2 hours to Greensboro for a 10k trail race. The temperature was 23* when I left my house. Most people that know me know I don't do cold well. I stressed over what to wear all week. I don't want to get cold but I also hate getting too hot once I'm into my run. I made a few last minute changes to my previous evening's choices and loaded myself in the car and was off.

Thank goodness I made it more than 10 minutes on the road without needing a potty break, after the trip to Greenville last month I was a bit worried. I made it an hour before I started looking for a rest stop. There isn't one until you're 30 mins outside of Greensboro, now I know for the next trip. While I'm on the subject of potties, I was thrilled that the bathrooms at the race were indoors. I was not looking forward to using a porta-potty in sub 30* temps.

I did a short little jog around the road at the park just to get my blood flowing so I wouldn't freeze to death while waiting. After getting into the huddled mass at the start I decided that I needed to remove my middle shirt layer. Just when I decide that they give a 2 minute to start call. I quickly tear off my fuel belt, tug my top layers off , frantically separate them, then throw my top layer back on along with my fuel belt. Luckily my car was parked by the start line and I just tossed the shirt on my car. I was back in the huddle mass with 30 seconds to spare.

After the start the race was pretty uneventful. The ground was frozen and my face and feet were numb for the first half of the race. Even though it was uneventful I really enjoyed the race. I didn't feel like I put out the effort I normally do at a race, I put out more than a normal training run, but it clearly wasn't an all out effort. I finished in 54:37. I was very pleased and surprised. That put me 42/100 for overall, 14/42 for women, and 2/9 for 35-39.

I will probably go back up there in April for a half marathon on the same trail system, that's assuming I enjoy the half marathon in Feb.

Right now I'm trying to battle a cold. I'm losing. After my run this morning it was clear it is moving south towards my chest. Right now it's just lingering at the top of my throat but I can feel it trying to drop lower. I really don't need this right now. My running is going so well and my IT band and other recurring aches are starting to behave. Everyone in the family has had this cold. First Emmett, then Brian, now me. Emmett is still fighting his but Brian is all better. I need this to end!

Tomorrow night is Emmett's first Xmas show. This should be interesting, a bunch of 2 year olds shaking bells while the 3 and 4 year olds sing Jingle Bells. I will be bringing the video camera!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Girl Can Change Her Mind, Again!

Well, I've been MIA on my blog. Sometimes I just don't have the concentration to sit down and put my thoughts into words. I'll try to give a quick update on all I've done since my last update.

I've managed to do a lot more trail running lately. I've only done two non trail runs in the past three weeks! Hooray! I got to do some trail running Thanksgiving week while visiting Brian's family in Michigan. I really enjoyed getting some time to myself to indulge in my obsession while on vacation. The drive home with lots of sitting made my IT band feel tight and I was worried it might be going rogue on me again but after a few days of being home with my foam roller we are both on the same page again. I'm up to 7 miles for my long runs and have added one more day of running to my week this week, so I will now run four days a week. I hope my body agrees to my new schedule.

I've got a 10k trail race in Greensboro, NC next Saturday. I'm 99% decided that I will not be running the Virginia Creeper Marathon in March in favor of concentrating on the Xterra Trail Race Series in South Carolina and Georgia. It's not like Marathons are going anywhere, when I'm ready I'll find one that fits my mood. I'm not going to blow the competition away in the Xterra Series but I'm already in third place for my age group in SC and I'd like to see if I can hold onto that or move up. I will focus on trail speed instead of long miles. I do like to go fast (well fast for me) and training for a marathon right now would require me to not think about speed. I feel a weight lifted off me and now I can go out and have fun. I am looking to do a half trail marathon Feb 27th in Winder, Georgia, it's an Xterra Xduro race. Brian will be racing it as well, should be a fun weekend with friends and family as well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Girl Can Change Her Mind- Paris Mt. 11k Trail Race

So, I changed my mind about doing the trail race last Saturday. I was worried it might rain for the 10k trail race on the 14th and it would end up a road race. So Saturday morning I made the 1.5 hour trek to Greenville, SC for the Paris Mountain 11k Trail Run.

I woke up at 4:00 am even though the alarm was set for 4:45. At least that gave me time to eat, drink some water, and get in my morning sun salutations. The drinking of water caught up with me as soon as I hit the highway. Seriously, not cool! I was hoping to make it to the welcome center rest stop just over the boarder in South Carolina but I couldn't make it. I found a gas station at the first SC exit and made a mad rush inside. Ah, much better. Sadly 20 mins to go and I'm starting to feel it again but manage to make it to Paris Mountain and bee line it to the potties. Clearly the extra time to drink water in the morning was a bad idea.

It was a cold morning and waiting for the start was going freeze me to death. I tried to keep moving to stay warm but my feet started to go numb anyway. The race finally started and my numb feet went on their way. I watched as lots of people went flying past me. I just smiled and mentally told them that I'd see them again later.

We started on the park road for about a quarter mile then made our way to a wide single track. Almost immediately I needed to start passing people, especially down hill. At about half a mile I'm finally not freezing to death and my lips are warming up but the feet still feel numb. I took my long sleeve shirt off in mile 2 and tied it on my waist. The gloves stayed on until mile three. Once the gloves were removed the temperature was perfect for running. Thank goodness for the big pockets on my running skirt so I could tuck my gloves in one and forget about them.

In mile two I'm thinking how gentle the trails are compared to the ones I do at home. I do know that there is a climb to the top of the mountain but I don't know when and how tough it will be. At the end of mile two I start to encounter rocky areas in the trail that are not runnable. It turns into a line of people working their way over the rocks. The space for running between the rocky areas gets smaller with each rocky area passed. The ascent to the top begins with trails that have very little room for error, it's mostly straight down hill to the stream if you mess up. We cross over the stream a few times. Some of the trail is basically rock steps, or root steps. If the trail isn't rocky it's too steep or your legs or too tired to run when the footing is good. I finally get near the top but have to dig deep to find the power in my legs to get back to running. At the top of the Mountain is the one aid station before the descent to the bottom.

The other side of the mountain is a huge relief. Lots of fast easy down hill with little roots or rocks to worry about. I catch up with another female runner and we do some chatting. She's a Marathon Maniac working on running all 50 states, she's up to 38 and she's planning on doing the Sears Tower Stair run. What an inspiration! Around mile 4 she takes a walk break and we say goodbye.

There were some awesome steep and twisty descents after mile 4. I got trapped behind some girls who were doing a good job blazing down them but they were just a hair slower at it than I was comfortable and it was beating up my legs to have to put on the brakes. I managed to get past one but not the other. Once the trail flattened out somewhat I stayed between the two women I had done the twisty descents with. I almost ate it on the flatter trail. I was on my way down when I flapped my arms out to the side and ran off the trail into the brush for a few strides and saved it. I was so shocked that I didn't eat it and so were the two girls I was in between!

The last mile I started to suffer. I couldn't make it up a hill without walking if it was more than a couple strides long. At one point I thought that I might be lost since I hadn't seen or heard any other runners in a while. Once I finally decided I wasn't lost I had lost my drive. My legs were shot and I had less than a quarter mile to go. As I got to the end I started to see people hanging out in the trees waiting for their friends and rooting us on. As I broke to walk up a small hill one man said, "Come on! The finish is just around that bend!" As I shuffled back to a run I replied, "If you say so." I was thrilled when I saw he was right! I ran through the shoot grabbed a water and my pair of finisher socks.

I felt so nauseous as I cooled down. The pancakes and chocolate milk looked so tasty but I waited awhile before testing them out. They were yummy but my stomach still wasn't happy with me. It took an hour or two after I got home for it to feel better.

I placed 2 out of 3 in my age group; one minute behind 1st and 30mins faster than 3rd. I was 14th out of 40 women, and 77th out of 131 overall.

My garmin stats:
Total time, distance, avg pace 1:17:43 - 6.95 miles - 11:11
lap 1) 9:54
lap 2) 10:22
lap 3) 16:28 (the mountain goat climb to the top of the mountain)
lap 4) 9:37
lap 5) 11:16
lap 6) 10:17
lap 7) 9:46

I am so pleased with my performance over such a tough course. I had so much fun and loved the challenge and the people. I will definitely be back for the 15k in May and I will be ready for that climb!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dirty Knees

After not being able to get on a trail for almost two weeks I finally got back out there last Saturday. My friend Kay and I went to Kings Mountain and did 5 miles. The weather was not what we would have liked. The temps were about 10 degrees warmer than what we've been used to lately and there had been a torrential downpour for a few hours before we hit the trail. It was a tough run. The mud was fun but it also made for heavier legs and the temp with the extra dose of humidity wore us out. We did take quite a few walk breaks but we still had fun and kept a decent pace according to my Garmin even though it felt like a death march at times. The Boy Scouts were out hiking and we did lots of dodging around them. It is amazing how oblivious teenage boys can be. When we would announce we were coming up on their left the only ones that heard us were there Troop Leaders, the boys never flinched. Ah, the things I have to look forward to with my son!

I didn't get a trail run in on Monday since my son had to skip preschool due to a runny nose. So I waited until Brian got home and ran at the local park. It wasn't much fun and my IT band felt tight at the end. I felt pretty discouraged. I made sure to take extra good care of it over the next few days. My run Wednesday morning at the greenway with the girls was successful, no IT band issues. That gave me hope for my planned 5.75 mile trail run on Friday.

On Friday I hit the trail, literally. I still had Monday's run swirling around my head and I decided to start my run with a ratio of 4 mins of run to 35 sec of walk. I felt good and was cruising along somewhere after the 2.5 mi point and bam I was rolling on the ground! I clearly didn't see the rock/root responsible under all the newly fallen leaves. I was amazed at how fast it happened. I truly didn't realize I was falling until I was already eating dirt. I finished my log roll and popped up to my feet, checked for blood and went on my way. No blood just some dirty knees and hands. The rest of my run was uneventful. My ratio of run to walk went out the window around mile 4 due to all the short but steep inclines. I finished my run feeling good and tough! I finally ate it on the trail! I must say I prefer falling while running trails to falling off a horse!

Today I feel good and the only sign of my tumble on the trail is a tiny bruise on my left hip. I've been contemplating doing an 11k trail race next weekend but I decided this morning that I'm going to skip it. I think it would be just a hair too much for me right now. Kay and I are signed up for a 10k trail race on Nov 14th. Hopefully it won't rain that day or it will end up being a road race and that's just not what I have in mind.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Patience is the key to happiness

I'm pretty sure I've gotten that fortune in many a fortune cookie. When you have lofty goals swirling around your head it is so difficult to bide by that rule.

I've been reading the blogs of female ultra runners lately. They inspire me so much. I'm just itching to get to a point where I can run for long distances again. I have to say the discovery of my love for trail running has eased some of my impatience to get to longer distances, but it also fuels it some when I read about other women that are serious trail runners. Right now my long run is 5 miles, a far cry from an ultra distance. I know with time and patience I can get up to at least marathon distance. At that point I should know if I'm hardcore enough to go longer distances. I've just got to get my mind to calm down and be content with the next step and not keep skipping ahead to things that aren't feasible for at least another year.

One big reason I need to stay patient is because I constantly battle tightness in my IT Band (iliotibial band for those not familiar with running woes). I've been instructed by my Sports Med Dr. to increase my mileage by just 5-8% a week as opposed to the normal of 10% a week. I've decided to stick to 5% increases for now. At first that meant tiny increases of 0.2 miles some weeks. I'm finally to a point where I can increase by 0.5 miles a week and soon I'll be able to increase by 0.75 miles a week. It is slow but at least it is progress. I'm even proud of myself for having a self chosen step back week last week to allow my body some rest. This week I'm going to repeat my mileage from two weeks ago and start adding again next week.

So I need to take my new mantra and plaster it around my home to remind me of my ultimate goal. If I follow my eagerness and try to do too much too soon I'll be right back where I started. My brain needs to keep my ego in check so I can fulfill my crazy dreams.

Happiness here I come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What am I doing?

I have no idea what I am doing or why. Recently I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog. I'm not sure I have the time or the mental energy to keep up with this. I'm also not sure anybody will be too interested in what I have to say but there may be a few out there. I have a few blogs that I enjoy keeping up with and inspire me, I am hoping that my blog can serve the same purpose to other people.

Just a quick profile on me. I'm a stay at home mom to a toddler that is very adventurous and outgoing. I know where he got the adventurous part from but the outgoing part is nothing he got from us. In the mornings, when my son is at preschool feeding his outgoing side, I am feeding my adventurous and introverted side by running trails. I have recently discovered that I love trail running. I try to do it at least twice a week. Once a week I do a social run with two other SAHMs that isn't a trail run (I may be mostly introverted but I do need some adult contact during the weekdays). I also swim and do yoga once a week.

I have lots of lofty goals in my head that I want to do. I just need my body to agree to cooperate in order to accomplish these goals. Goal number one right now is to complete a Marathon. After that I don't have any set goals just lots of ideas swirling in my head: trail marathons/half marathons, trying a triathlon, seeing if I can get a Marathon Maniac or Half Maniac status, pursue the Xterra Trail Running Series in SC and Ga. There is just so much I'd like to do and can't get my mind to settle on picking one and sticking to it. I'm sure I'll just be all over the place.

I have goals at home too. I'm not looking to be super mom. I'd like to be better at cooking. I'm working at it but it's not something I love to do. I keep my house pretty clean. It's not the cleanest house but I have no worries about ever being on one of those shows about people's horribly filthy and disorganized houses.

When I feel I have the house under control I like to dabble in crafts. Sometimes it's crocheting something simple, sewing a purse or softie dolls, or my new discovery of felt crafts. I made Emmett, my son, some really cute felt designs that I sewed on to some of his onesies and shirts over the past year. I am learning how to do needle felting. Lots of fun, easy (so far), and very meditative. I've made some penguins (with instructions) and a mutant dog (without any instructions, hence the mutant part). I love that it's a craft that I can eventually do successfully without patterns. Crafts are another area of my life where I have lots of ideas swirling around in my head and not enough time or energy to get them done.

Well, we'll have to wait and see what is in store for my blog's future. Will I flourish or flop? I guess that's truly up to me. One of my favorite quotes: Whether you think you can or can't you're right. -Anonymous