Sunday, May 30, 2010

Let the Countdown Begin!

Yesterday was our final training run for the half marathon on June 5th. It rained pretty hard the night before leaving Anne Springs Close Greenway a sloppy mess, some areas more sloppy than others. From the start our feet got wet from grass, then mud, and finally I gave up after a few miles and started putting my feet in the water during stream crossings just to get the muck off my shoes. Some of the paths are narrow causing you to get slapped all over by very wet trees, bushes, tall grass, and vines (some of them were mean thorny vines, ouch). So it was a wet 12 miles. Luckily the temperature was cool to start. Compared to what we've been used to we almost felt chilled before we headed out. The skies stayed overcast for the most part, keeping the temps comfortable and the oppressive steamy humidity at bay.

We came across a cute little friend on the trail, reminding us that slow and steady is the way to go. We also crossed paths with a black snake but the urge for a photo opp just wasn't there. Actually, each time we've been there we've come across at least one black snake. Yesterday's black snake was the smallest one we've seen and we just jumped over him. There is lots of animal life to be found on these trails, some wild, others domestic. We pass by several pastures, some with goats, some cows, and plenty of horses. There rarely seems to be a dull moment there.

We had meant to take pictures of ourselves before we changed out of our wet clothes but we forgot. We were so drained and soaked that all we could focus on were dry clothes and chocolate milk. I am happy to report that in spite of having wet feet the whole time I have no blisters or hot spots. Also this morning my legs feel great, no IT band discomfort and my shins are happy too.

So now it's time for a week of tapering, I'll do 6 on Monday and 3 on Wednesday and I'll also take it easy with strength and yoga. I have high hopes that I'll make it through this second half marathon with no IT band pain, that would make me the happiest girl in the world. The week is going to drag since I have something so great to look forward to- 13.1 miles with my two fun running buddies. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Versatile Blogger x2

So I've been awarded the Versatile blogger award twice now in two weeks. I was procrastinating about it after the first one because I just didn't know what 7 things I was going to say about myself. Now that I've been given the award twice I'm just going to have to wing it and write the first 7 things that come to mind that hopefully won't bore you to tears. So here goes.

1. I hate to be late and tend to be habitually early to everything. Back when I had a job outside the home I was usually at work 5 mins early, sometimes more.

2. My hairstyle and color are constantly changing. It's rare for me to keep the same style with the same color for more than a month. Right now it's pink, blonde, black, and a tad purple. My hair has never been longer than my shoulders and the top of my shoulders was only twice, to me long is anything that goes past my chin.

3. I prefer to drink water, always have. I rarely drink sodas or juices, if I do it's only when we go out to eat.

4. I started riding horses when I was about 8. I was a serious competitor for a long time, I'm not good at being a hobby rider. I trained and worked for several Olympic riders. Every time I gave up my "real job" to do horses full time I ended up burnt out within two years, really takes the fun out of it when you have to do it. I lost most of my nerve after having my son in 2008 and officially retired from horses at the ripe old age of 37.

5. I met my husband at a dog park.

6. I have 6 tattoos and my nostril pierced.

7. I'm a morning person 100%. I can get so much done before noon but don't expect much after then. By the time the sun goes down I'm useless. I've always loved to get up and run or ride my horse first thing in the morning no matter the temps. I know if I wait too late I'll lose my motivation so I'd rather deal with cold temps than the disappointment of not getting out there.

I think most of my fellow bloggers have gotten this award by now and honestly it's past noon so I've just not got the motivation to tag 15 of my favorite bloggers.

Have a happy hump day everyone!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Good Long Run

This morning Laura and I did an 11 mile run in preparation 009for the Race For The Land trail half marathon on June 5th. Originally I wasn’t sure I was going to do this half. I was maybe going to do it or do the 8k that goes along with it. The reason being I had originally thought I wanted to do the Paris Mountain 15k trail race in Greenville, SC the weekend before. Paris Mountain trail races are notoriously tough. They start off with a long climb to the top of the mountain and end with a fun descent down it with lots of switchbacks. I decided with the temps starting to rise, my lower back giving me trouble, and the fun I’ve been having on my long runs with Laura and Meredith that the half marathon just sounds like more fun. No need to feel like racing, just enjoy the nature preserve and some good company for 13.1 miles.

So back to our run. Since we had to do our run on a week day we weren’t able to meet until after 9:00 am. I spent the week worrying about the temps but was pleasantly surprised with somewhat mild morning temps around 60-65 and overcast, it would have been perfect had it not been for the humidity, but hey we live in the south what else would I expect? The weather teased us with some very short drizzles that never satisfied us.

As usual the conversation was great. It was nice to run without having to look at a map and made the run mentally more easy for me which in turn translated to a physically more easy run. The run was an out and back, which can sound tedious but the turn around at half way is always sweet. Woot, half way home! I have to say I never had any serious rough spots today. There were even times I felt the urge to go faster but thought better of it since I knew I still had plenty of miles to go and didn’t want to empty the tank too early. During the last mile I caught a second wind and really felt like going longer but I knew my partner in trail running shenanigans was not holding up as well as I. So when Laura’s Garmin announced the end of mile 11 we called it a day.

On our walk back in we indulged in mother nature’s version of an ice bath. Aaaahhh… sweet relief on the feet.


Giving my IT band and calves some icy love.


I could have stayed in that stream all day but sadly we had to get home and back to real life. Even more tragic I didn’t get a post run chocolate milk. With being on a time crunch I was worried I didn’t have time to stop at a store and pick some up before the hubby needed to get back to work. He had picked our spawn up from preschool for me thank goodness because I would never had made it there unless I had skipped the wading in the stream and that just wasn’t an option. So today not only am I grateful for awesome running partners and solid legs, but I’m so grateful for having a hubby that works from home and is willing to help me out with small details from time to time.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

An Adventure on New Trails

Today Laura and I met up with her friend Meredith for a long run at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC. We really didn't know what to expect from this trail system. It's a mix of hiking, equestrian, and mountain biking trails.

There was a mounting biking race going on so we knew to avoid those trails so we set out to follow the Blue Star trail but had a hard time following their trail markers, or lack of markers. We ended up following mostly equestrian trails for the first half of our 9 mile run which made for rough footing but it was still fun. There was a nice mix of mostly woods, some fields, and some gravel roads. Around mile 4.5 we came to a stream that we knew we wanted to cross fairly soon. Not really knowing how far to get to a bridge to cross the stream we made the decision to cross it under some RR tracks where there were some rocks. Half way across I gave up on trying to cross with dry feet. I was having to use my hands to keep me steady and the girls were getting a good look at my backside. So, I just finally said screw it and jumped into the stream. Oh, it felt so good on my hot sweaty feet. Thank goodness trail shoes drain well. After crossing the stream we were finally on the Blue Star trail!

The Blue Star trail was for foot traffic only, very pretty and no huge gouges in the trail from hoof prints. Around mile 6 we came upon an open field next to a road and the trail just seemed to disappear. We took out the map and tried to figure out where we were. For a moment we thought we were on the opposite side from where we wanted to be. Luckily we saw a park sign in the distance and ran over to it to see what it said, "Dairy Farm Access." Sweet we are on the right track around 2 miles from where we parked. This portion was mostly gravel road but it was a nice change of scenery with pastures and old farm buildings. Then we came upon a wide stream. There was a tall foot bridge or an option to go through the water. I opted for the water while Laura and Meredith took the foot bridge, at that point my feet were wet so I may as well indulge in some cool water. Ahh... that felt good, the water was to the top of my calves. I could have spent a few minutes just hanging out in that stream. We moved on and finished up our run with a loop around the lake near the parking. The last mile finally revealed the tired parts of my body. My shoulders were heavy and my lower back on the right was really starting to ache.

We made it through 9 miles in 1:43:00, not bad with all the pausing and slowing down to figure out where we were. I think we'll definitely go back there. Lots of trails to offer and even places to refill our water bottles without having to go back to our cars.

Wow, this ended up longer than I thought it would. I didn't realize I had so much to say about it. Now that I've started, I realize I could write several more pages. That's what is so great about trail running, it's not just a training run, it's an event, an adventure! When you are done there are so many little memories to pick out of it and cherish, I just don't find those special moments on the roads that often. If you've never done any trail running I highly recommend you get a friend and plan a morning to hit the trails and have an adventure. I promise you won't regret it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Run Like A Girl 8k Trail Race Report

Today was a special race day for me. I ran the Run Like A Girl 8k Trail Race for the second time. This was my first trail race ever last year and an all women race. This year they moved it up to May, instead of September like last year, which made me happy because there was a better chance of cooler temps. This would also be my running partner Laura's first trail race! She was pretty nervous about it and I was nervous and excited to be able to go for my first trail PR! My two goals were to go faster than last year and help Laura get off to a better start. She likes to blast off the start line like the hounds of hell are chasing her. On our way there she mentioned that her horoscope this morning told her to, "defer to others on understanding your limits." That may not be exactly what it said but pretty close. So we decided that meant she needed to allow me to guide her through the start.

We met up with Kay, one of my other trail running pals, and headed off for a warm up run around the kayak pool. It was strange not to see anyone else but the three of us doing a warm up run. Usually there are plenty of runners doing so. After our warm up we milled around the start area discussing our nerves and plans for the race. As usual Kay gave me the what for about needing to step it up a notch and I was telling Laura to take it down a notch at the start. I decided it was important to get Laura through the start then I could step it up a notch. After receiving instructions on how to follow the marked trail our wave, 1st wave, lined up at the start. Laura and I seeded ourselves a few people back from Kay but in front of most of the pack. The horn went off and we started the race. Laura started to inch in front of me right away. I told her to slow down but I don't think it sank in. She started get even farther ahead of me. Finally, before she got out of arms reach, I grabbed her upper arm and yanked her back to me. I told her to just let the other runners go. She finally cooled her jets and settled in behind me. Over half way to the trail head she mentioned how uneven her breathing was. I imparted some more wisdom on her by telling her not to push her speed up until her breath was in a regular rhythm. On that note I started to leave her behind as we reached the trail head.

We both ran a great race. The warmer temperatures were tough since we haven't acclimated to running in warmer temps yet. I tried to hold my pace steady, going easy uphill and using the downhills to my advantage. Sadly there weren't as many downhills as I would have liked, there was definitely more uphill on this year's course. I did a small amount of walking up some hills, some of them I thought would never end. When one of the never ending hills ended we were punished with a jaunt across an open field in bright sunshine. I held two girls off behind me for most of the race but once we left the woods for the last time they both just shot around me like rockets. I kicked it in gear to try to stay with them but that stupid steep hill into the parking area got me. I ran it but at a very slow pace. Once up the hill I set my sights on the finish line. Holy moly, I might make it under 45 minutes! I kicked into gear and finished at 44:44! Much better than last year of 54 minutes.

I waited for Laura at the finish and, as I did last race, shouted at her to kick it into gear. She finished around 49 minutes, a pretty good showing for her first trail race. We waited around forever and a day for the results to be posted and awards to be handed out. I was thrilled with my 2nd place age group placing, 3 minutes behind 1st in my AG. Kay was just out of the awards in 4th for her AG and Laura 17th in her AG. I got a cute Run Like A Girl Tech tee. First place in each AG got a free skirt from It made me feel better knowing that first in my age group beat me by so much. It would have been hard to deal with missing out on a free skirt over a small difference in time, but the three minutes showed that clearly she was the better runner today.

After the awards, Laura and I went out for a three mile run to get a full 9 miles in for the day. If we had known they were going to take so long for the awards we would have done our 3 miles right after the race. We survived the three miles at an easy 12 min mi pace. It was fun going over the race and all the thoughts that ran through our heads during the race. As usual we both felt like hell during the race but the glorious race after glow set in and all the pain can be forgiven, and maybe even forgotten in a few days.