Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let The Taper Madness Begin!

Ylast long run before medoc 007esterday was my final long run of 20 miles for my training for the Medoc Trail Marathon. Kay and Michael (aka Sideshow Jesus), who are running Medoc as well, met me at the Boulders Access Parking to the Ridgeline Trail. The weather wasn’t what I had hoped for. I have day dreamed all summer about this run. The average temps should have been in the mid 50’s for the low and mid 70’s for the highs. Instead of dreamy fall temps we got 64 for a low and 92 for a high. I decided to try to embrace the less than ideal temps with a reminder that what doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger.

Most of the run was uneventful. The temps started to rapidly climb after about 14 miles. By mile 15 I was adding a lot more walking to areas that weren’t all that hilly. I took a dip in a stream twice in mile 17. That dip revived my hips and legs for a bit. By mile 18 every time I had to walk my lower back screamed at me, threatening to seize up. I did my best to run the flats and downhill but I just couldn’t muster the ability to run uphill with the temps in the mid 80’s at that point.

Kay and Jesus ran a bit farther than I did before turning around so they were actually behind me for a bit but I knew they would catch up. At 19 miles I decided I would sit down at mile 20 and take a break if I wasn’t close to the end. I just really needed to let my back muscles relax for a minute. Kay caught up with me at 19.5 and stayed with me until I hit 20 but she couldn’t stop and sit because she was in the opposite situation, if she sat down she would seize up and I’d have to carry her in.

So, I sat down for a minute on a tiny log. I took a few deep breaths and tried to relax and not cry. I then decided to stand up anlast long run before medoc 004d stretch my back . As I was bent over touching my toes I heard Jesus coming up the trail. Uh oh, not very lady like behavior, I’d better stand up! It was too late I had already given him a bit of a show. The humor of the situation helped to lighten my mood as we made a joke out of it. Having him with me at the end helped me to get done without crying. He offered to carry my Camelbak since my back was giving me fits but I declined since it wasn’t really the problem, but it was very nice of him to ask and just what I needed at that point. We finally reached a good stopping point near the end a walked it in. My final distance was 20.44 mi in 4:30:59.

We found Kay sitting on the bench waiting for us at the bottom of the trail spur that takes you to the parking area. We all sat down for a minute before tackling that spur, it’s really brutal after a long trail run to hit this steep winding trek to the parking. We all agreed we were glad it was done. I think we were all out of water and the mountain had taken a toll on all of us. Even as beat as we were, we are all looking forward to a good time at Medoc on October 16th.

I had weighed myself before leaving for the run and when I got home. I had lost nearly 3% of my body weight. Way too much loss. Clearly I need a bigger hydration pack for these longer runs. Hopefully Santa will help me with that. I now think had I had enough water my back wouldn’t have felt so horrible. Lesson learned!

All the photos are from after the run.

Wrinkled toes from soaking in the stream. Wrinkled feet from sitting in the stream.last long run before medoc 005

A more realistic image of what we felt like after the run.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Laying Low to Run High

So, last week I took it pretty easy. Only two runs to be exact, one 5 miler and a 13 miler. Wild and crazy, I know. I had planned an 8 miler for Thursday but that day I woke up and felt like I'd been hit by the sleep truck. I decided that I needed to spend the day taking it easy and skipped my run. I took the next day off because I don't like to run the day before a long run, even if it was a "short" long run. I'll admit the morning of my long run I just wasn't feeling it mentally. Physically I felt great but wasn't feeling like running 13 miles. I got it done and was glad to be done with my running for the week.

After a week of not feeling the run I was anticipating a possible crappy week of running again. I have to report that this past week of running rocked my stripey socks! Monday was 5 miles of bliss. Cooler temperatures and an easier route allowed for speedy running, averaging my best trail pace in a long time. Tuesday was warmer than I had expected but wasn't horribly hot. It wasn't a stellar 8 miles but nothing to complain about either. Thursday was nice and effortless feeling. Not that I went fast but, at the end of 5 miles, including more than a mile climbing to the top of a mountain, I felt like I hadn't run at all.

Wow, my body felt great the whole week and I still had my long run to go. This week was another recovery week. My long run plan was for 13. I decided to meet up with a trail running group west of here, just under 2 hours. The plan was to run the Kitsuma trail as a time trial. Everyone starts their watch at the same spot and takes a halfway time at the same spot before heading back to finish up. We all stated what we thought we could run it in. Having little knowledge of the trail other than the elevation map. I declared my time goal of 1:45:45. I also planned on doing the time trial then follow it up with 3 easy miles to make my 13 for the day.

I was pretty excited when I got there this morning. We introduced ourselves and went on our quests to make our predicted times. The trail head had a trail closed for maintence sign but we decided to go anyway since it was a mountain bike trail and maybe it just wasn't suitable for bikes. One of the guys ran it just last week and it was fine.

As I headed up the mountain I glanced at my watch around half a mile and had already been going for over 8 minutes, crap! I know I'm not good at ascents. I'm working on my power hiking skills, something I truly don't like doing. I ran what little I could and walked when I had to, which was quite often. Halfway through the first mile I started noticing parts of the trail were turned up where they were working on it, not too bad, definitely tolerable. As the climbing went on the dirt became more churned up, lots of exposed and broken roots to be mindful of. It felt like running up hill in a really messy sand box, talk about lack of traction and no help propelling yourself up the hill. I made it to the top of the mountain and got a short break as I ran down to the parking area on the other side of the mountain. I took my split 4.5 miles with a time of 1:04:45. Crap! No way I will make my time unless I can find it in me to motor up the hills.

I turned back around and headed back towards the summit with as much vigor as I could muster. I tried to do as much hill running as I could and walked as briskly as I could in a sand box on the side of a hill. It was less than 2 miles to the summit which was a relief because it was mostly downhill from there. The churned up dirt made for nice cushioning as I blasted down the mountain. I'm a downhill machine. Nothing better than saying a prayer and letting go as you run down a torn up trail with little room for error, just a small tree here and there to separate you from the steep drop down the mountain. Arms flailing and dirt flying I managed to finish my run in 1:55:39, almost 10 minutes over my predicted time, and an awesome negative split for the way back. (my slowest mile was 16:04 and fastest was 9:07)

A dip in the stream as an ice bath and to clean the dirt from my legs was a perfect treat after such a leg beater of a run. I decided not to add the extra 3 miles because in less than 10 miles I had put in a 13 mile effort. Everyone brought food and we had a potluck cookout afterwards. I had a great time meeting everyone and eating some great grub!

I have to say this has been my best week of running ever! If I ever top this week I'll be pleasantly surprised and if I do I'm going to guess it will be awhile before I do. This week has been full of running high, both figuratively and literally! I hope everyone else has had a great week as well!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Favorites

Today's favorite will have nothing to do with running. It's about a popsicle and a little boy. For dinner tonight I served my son some whole wheat spiral pasta and lima beans. Seems like a strange combo but it is a big hit with my son, he loves pasta and legumes. Don't ask him to eat a strawberry or any other fruit, unless it's a fig bar. Most veggies get ejected from his mouth pretty quickly too, but, hand him a kidney bean, a pinto bean, black eyed peas, lentils, etc and he'll give you a firm, "mmmm, guud." He wasn't always like this at one time he ate spinach, avocado, sweet potatoes, and applesauce. But, now he's a typical toddler with a limited food repertoire and what little he likes he picks at like a bird.

About 15 minutes after dinner I noticed he was pretty tight lipped. Lots of, "mmm and hmmm," coming out of his little mouth. Then he did something that seems to be built into the wiring of little boys, he let a bit of the lima bean slime from his mouth seep out only to suck it back in before it disconnected from the mass in his mouth. This isn't his first time at this game. He kept a piece of turkey bacon in his mouth for over an hour a few weeks ago. Ugh. I tried to get him to spit the lima bean out to no avail. After a few tries I pull out the big gun, the lure of dessert. I showed him a popsicle and informed my little imp if he spit the lima bean out he could have the yummy raspberry popsicle. Well, I could barely get a napkin in front of his mouth quick enough!

So, rambling done, here are some pictures of the popsicle delight! It's a good thing it was bath night! .

On the running front, I've only run once this week, on Tuesday. I had planned a run for Thursday but woke up feeling extremely run down. I actually slept until 6:45, very rare for me to sleep past 6am, I only woke up because the hubby's alarm went off. So, I opted to spend my morning resting on the couch and do as little as needed to get through my mom work for the day. I'm glad to report I woke up this morning feeling like myself again! I decided not to run today since I don't like to run the day before a long run. I'm only doing 13 tomorrow (pretty exciting that I can put the word only in front of 13!) so I should be back on track after tomorrow. One more true long run on the 25th of 20 miles and it's time to taper for my marathon on October 16!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Favorites (and not so favorites)

This weeks favorites:

1) Cooler Morning Temperatures- the overnight temperatures have been more mild this past week and a hair less humid. This has made for some almost pleasant feeling runs. I'd still like it to drop about 10 degrees to make me happy but I'll take what I can get.

2) Finding a few new trail groups: Last weekend I met up with a new group called Teal Trails. They are part of the Run Like A Girl, a trail running series dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness. I ran with them last weekend as part of my long run and it was nice to have company more than halfway through my run. Kept my pace up and my mind positive. Today I met with the group's organizer and we did a short run together. It's nice to have company again since Laura, My Reason To Run, has been on the injured runners list.

I've also found a group farther west, Asheville region, that has lots of fun organized training runs and Fat Ass races. I'm hoping to do a run with them in a few weeks. It will be a great way for me to explore other trail systems in NC with people that know where they're going, instead of me heading out blindly hoping for the best. I will have to drive an hour or more but I hope it will be worth it.

Not So Favorites:

1) Afternoon heat: even though the mornings are cooler we are still reaching the mid to high 90's more than 3 days a week. This will last into next week. I hope after next week we get normalized into low 80's for the highs.

2) My relationship with the interwebs: I find that I get down on myself about the time I spend on the net: browsing blogs, checking forums, searching for trail races, checking facebook, etc. I'd like to reduce my time spent browsing but I get sucked in everyday!

Every now and then I'll set limits then follow them for a week or two before I fall back into my old routine. I need help! Admitting the problem is a good first step but it only works if you actually manage to follow it up with a real plan, and stick to it. I have gotten rid of some forums and dropped some blogs but I think I need to do more than that.

Maybe I'm just in a funk this week and can snap out of it next week? I'd like get back to doing things like reading books, doing crafts, and crossword puzzles. I need more face to face connections with people and that's something that is hard to come by right now. I hope with the new group trail running possibilities I can get that connection with the outside world that I clearly long for.

Sometimes I just wish all our technology would fail so the decision would be made for me and I could just go with it.