In the spirit of
transparency oversharing, I’d like to tell you all what I’ve been up to while training for Myrtle Beach Marathon. I was in a “should-I-race-this mode?” as I feel that my training has been spotty, to say the least. And it’s 100% no one else’s fault but my own. I was doing that thing where I kept thinking, “March is soooo far away.” And then WHAM. It wasn’t. (Athletes I coach, look away.)
Basically I have had some great weeks and some real shit weeks. I have had THREE colds since November. I have no idea why. Well, sorta no idea why. I guess I could say work stress from a new schedule and possibly having too much on my plate.
My highest week thus far has been 55 miles, but that was only one week. I’ve run a few 16 milers and a 20 miler. (There was an 18 miler planned that turned into 16 because I didn’t start running until 8:30 AM and it got super warm out so I bagged it.) Granted, the pacing of my long runs has gotten much better. But…knowing what I know about training for a marathon, dis no good. No good at all.
At this point, I’ve made my bed and I’ve got two weeks to lie in it. What I have going for me is an awesome training partner who’s really got my back and, and quite frankly, has more confidence in me than I do in myself. Plus, I’ve got experience and hard headedness. If the marathon were only 20 miles (Heh, “only”) I’d be good to go. I can rock a 20 miler, it’s the last six that I’m worried about. (Isn’t it always though?)
This is a lesson I apparently had to re-learn. And yes, Universe, I won’t soon forget it.
It’s my second favorite month of the year! (October is first, duh.) I get to celebrate my birthday! I’m a huge fan of birthdays. Even now as I’m getting older, I think birthdays are the best. I’m wiser and yet still super hot. Totally joking. Anyway, here’s how my January measured up!
Run 201 miles
Bike 0 miles
Swim 0 miles
Strength & Conditioning 0
Races Croom Zoom 25K and Best Damn Race Jacksonville half marathon – I didn’t race either of these per se but I did use them as strength runs for my marathon training.
Current Reads I started The Nest but haven’t gotten far with it. It’s just not hitting me in the read-feels. I also started Live By Night and it’s also sort of meh. I need some good recommendations please.
Current Obsession Vitamin Water XXX – this shit is delicious. Try it. Trust me.
Current Song Nothing is really getting me right now. But I have been listening to the podcast Suspect Convictions and it’s interesting, but also very sad.
Current Need One more solid several weeks of training before the Myrtle Beach Marathon.
Current Triumph Fairly solid 20 mile long run with my friend Rose. It was a good confidence boost, even if it was a tough going due to dumb cramps.
Current Bain of My Existence Hacking cough! I don’t know where this came from but all of the sudden I sound like a three pack a day smoker. I’m failing at staying healthy this cold/flu season. This is the third cold I’ve gotten thus far. I swear I’ve been sleeping a lot, drinking lots of water (not just the XXX), and just generally eating healthier. I am wondering if I’ve had extra stress lately?
Current Goal A healthy, fun marathon next month.
Current Indulgence Pre-long run bagel. It’s been hitting the spot.
Current Blessings Having a great friend who is a doctor and an awesome boyfriend who doesn’t mind being a nurse.
Current Excitement I’m excited about the Myrtle Beach Marathon but I’m also excited about swimming and cycling again!
A couple of weeks ago, as part of my marathon training, I ran the Croom Zoom 25K. (That’s roughly 16+ miles.) This was a trail run and as my longest trail run to date, I highly enjoyed it! I’ve been dabbling in trails for a little while now and have completed a total of four trail races. Boy are they a different animal from road running! I’ve learned a lot of things in my short time as a newbie trail runner and I’d like to bestow these small nuggets of wisdom to you all.
- For the love that of all that is good and holy – buy trail shoes! I ran my first two trail races in my regular running shoes. I wasn’t ready to invest in trail shoes so I figured it was fine. While I didn’t bust my butt in them, when I switched to trail shoes for my third event I was SO happy (and lucky) I did. They made a major difference on the terrain and I felt way more stable. And I say this about an event that I DID bust my butt in. I think it would have much worse had I not worn them. Do I know what types are best? Not a clue. But I’ll get there at some point, I’m sure.
- Quick feet and watching your steps are a must. Ok, so this is probably a no- brainer but you have to watch your feet and watch them often. Trails can be so beautiful but they can also be quite hazardous if you aren’t paying attention. Being ready to hop from one foot to the other is key and I think it’s a skill that you get better at as you run.
- Don’t “scoot” on technical down hills. At the most technical of the courses I have run to date, which by many standards really isn’t THAT technical, I tried to “scoot” down a section and lowered my butt way down. This was a bad idea. I threw off my center of gravity and almost toppled down and broke my neck! The second time around on the same section I still took my time, but I stayed upright and this worked much better! (As a caveat here, I imagine there are some trails where you 100% have to scoot or but beware of that change in your center of gravity!)
- Trail runners are SUPER nice. Every trail runner I know or have met thus far has been super nice. And helpful. And not trying to run me down at aid stations. Ha! At aid stations during trail runs everyone has just sort of moved out of the way or stopped completely. Granted, it’s far less in number of runners than big road races, but it’s been really nice to stop to drink my water rather than carefully gulping it down while still trying to maintain race pace.
- There are still ridiculously fast trail runners. I still can’t get over how fast a lot of these trail runners run on what I consider precarious terrain. I’ve been passed by folks running double the distance at double the speed! So in awe of these folks! It takes tremendous mental fortitude and skill to be locked in for that long and going that fast. Nuts!
I am loving these trail races I’ve been throwing in and cannot wait to do more! But first, that little marathon I’ve been training for is in looming. More on my training in the next post.
I know this blog has been neglected lately and I apologize. I always know when I’ve been absent too long as I get an “Are you ok?” email from thoughtful Coach EK. He does know me well. It’s been busy here in Discombobulated land, but busy in a good way!
I’ve been going back and forth on shutting the blog down because it’s been so neglected. I started it as a creative outlet but now I’ve got creative outlets out the wazoo, plus my three (or four) jobs. However, instead of shutting it down I’m just going to post when I can and want. I have spent too many years building this small corner of the blogosphere and I hate to just *poof* make it disappear.
So, in 2017 the posts may not be as frequent as I would like, but I am going to do my best to to keep them coming. Mostly because I enjoy writing and a little because I like to hope you all enjoy reading.
That said, I am omitting a full report on the Hot Chocolate 15K because it seems like it was forever ago and I had a cold during it and it was exactly one million degrees out with about 123% humidity so…yeah, it was great! (Honestly, it would have been super fun aside from all of the above. The end.)
As a run of the mill “end of the year by the numbers post” I did some maths. I could be off by at least 14% because we all know how great I am at math. (I barely passed the one basic class they make you take in college. I have NO shame. I suck at math. But I can spell like a motherfucker.)
Anyway here are some fun numbers for the year:
1312 miles run
494 miles cycled
76 miles swam
Strength and yoga and float and Yamuna and other things I don’t care to count up!
Those numbers include 13 races:
1 full marathon
2 half marathons (one was an Xterra trail)
2 Olympic distance triathlons
2 random distance trail races (6+ and 7ish at night)
1 Olympic distance triathlon relay (I swam)
And a partridge in a pear tree!
In 2017, I have planned a full marathon (Myrtle Beach in March) and a 70.3 in the fall. I chose the Ironman North Carolina 70.3, formerly Beach to Battleship, as a TON of friends were going and I have decided that as a Floridian I’d like to continue racing flat races. Yes, I know I can’t always race flat, but for my return to 70.3 I’d like to not spend an entire summer in the only “hills” we have available which are about an hour away.
Coach Mason and I are sticking together through March and then I’ll transition back to Coach Jon for triathlon training. Mason doesn’t coach triathlon, and I have learned a lot from her. I’ll be sad to part with her. She has an excellent plan for me for the upcoming full, that is, if I can get my act together and stop getting sick.
I’m currently battling a second cold that I believe I got on the flight to Oregon. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we went Oregon for Christmas and I got to see the historic Hayward Field. The home to none other than legendary, Steve Prefontaine (and Galen Rupp, and Alberto Salazar…). It was pretty cool (and cold!). We also went to Portland and were both disappointed because we didn’t really find it all that weird. Maybe we just fit in? Ha!
That’s it for me right now. I’m going to leave the house to buy some groceries as we have been existing on eggs, water and NyQuil the last two days. Have a very safe and happy New Year!
Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all enjoyed the three F’s: families and friends and foods. I was mildly disappointed this year as I wanted to eat a lot more than I was able to. This is quite an uncommon occurrence and it may just be that I’ve become a person who eats until she is full and then miracle of all miracles, stops. Ha! (Then again, I could have just made a really HUGE first plate.)
I ran two 5Ks in the last two weeks and am reminded that I have not been doing enough speed work. I’m rectifying that this week with some fartleks and track from Coach Mason and Coach Jon. The 5Ks weren’t anything special so they aren’t getting their own race reports. But there were a few differences I’ll quickly point out.
New Orleans YMCA Corporate Cup 11/12/16
(These stats are all per my Garmin)
Mile 1: 7:28
Mile 2: 7:38
Mile 3: 7:38
.11: 6:02 pace
Total Time: 23:25
Overall I was super happy with this race! I mean, holding on to those last two miles makes me VERY happy. The weather was great, the course was flat and I was 2nd in my age group.
Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot 11/24/16
(Again, stats per my Garmin)
Mile 1: 7:21
Mile 2: 7:39
Mile 3: 7:58
.14: 7:21 pace
Total Time: 24:02
This is painful to type but I know this course is not an easy one for me. The first mile is downhill and then there are a couple of punchy little uphills. I also didn’t fight as much for mile three. I’m going on record as saying I will not run over 24 minutes next year dammit! On the plus side, still good enough for a top 125 finisher mug.
Besides racing, I did take the Road Runners Club of America coaching certification course last weekend and passed the test. Overall, I enjoyed the course, but I do think every course I’ve taken for running thus far has a little bit of the instructor’s or organization’s opinions built in. As there is no real governing body for “running” it’s up to those of us who do coach to get as much information and knowledge on our sport as possible. I’m grateful that these courses exist and want to always keep learning and growing as a coach and as an athlete. I would recommend this for someone looking to coach others as they have a nice section on the business of coaching.
What else? Hm. Well, work is still going great and I’m plugging along with my own training. It’s really time to buckle down as my full marathon, while seemingly off in the distance, will come up faster than I realize.
Oh, and lest I forget, I saw the ONE AND ONLY – DOLLY PARTON! She came to Tampa last night and blew the roof off the arena. Everyone I know who went was nothing but awed by the spunk, pipes and showmanship of this 70 year old woman. I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, Dolly Parton is a national treasure.
What’s going on with you all?
Ever since I toed the line at my last trail race, I couldn’t wait to get back out there for this one. Remember, I ran an Xterra
five six miler called The Claw and LOVED it. I figured I was good to go for increasing the distance. The “xterra” basically means it’s more challenging than just a regular trail race. There is more single track and of trail running which typically means going through water and technical courses.
So on Sunday, I got up early and headed to the Wildhorse Xterra Half Marathon, located about 45 minutes away from me and actually quite near the city I grew up in. I registered not knowing if anyone else was going to race so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw friends from my old stomping grounds, the Brandon Running Association. Holly and Caribbean Steve!
As soon as I told Steve I was running the half he warned me, more than once, that it was very tough. He did it the year prior and said he’d never do it again. Uh-oh. What had I gotten myself into? He was there for one of the other distances they had available. There was a 4 miler, a 10k, a 10 miler, and the half. I also saw my friend Erin who was racing the half and she received the warning from Steve as well. Ha!
Erin, Steve and I pre-race. I love that this race as they offer free photos. Yay! Back to the report…
The half got started first and I took my time as I warned to go out easy. Thanks Steve! It was a two loop course and I was really enjoying the first three miles. As you can see from the photo below, I was blissfully unaware of what was to come…
We did encounter a water crossing pretty early on, but it was nothing too scary. I’m not in the photo below, but it’s the aforementioned water crossing. We got to do it twice, once for the first loop and then again at the end.
Mile four is where things got real. The trail got very technical and I basically had to let every single person behind me go in front of me. Which was challenging in itself because with single track trails above and beside some random body of green water, getting space to let others pass was tricky. I was averaging 9:45 pace until mile four. Then I hit a 16 minute mile. I inched along not quite sure how to go up and down the dirt path. At one point I lowered almost to my butt and that was a mistake. I slipped and started going down so I grabbed a tree. As I did I scraped my forearm along said tree and it began to bleed. I told folks behind me to go on ahead and I stood up and had a bit of a pep talk.
Brain: “This is really stupid. We could break something. Let’s just do one loop and call it a day.”
Guts: “No bitch. You are doing this! You just have to go through this section one more time.”
Brain: “We don’t have health insurance yet! If we break something it’s going to cost a gazillion dollars!”
Guts: “Shut up! Death before DNF! ONWARD!”
And on I went.
As soon as I got through mile six, things evened out. I picked up the pace and passed several folks who were much more nimble through the technical section. I told a few of them that I’d see them again as they passed me when we got back around.
Not nearly as cheesy, smiley as before. You can also see the dirt on my hands from falling and I’m looking a whole lot sweatier! But, even amidst the falling and slowing way down, I was really having a lot of fun out there. Erin’s husband was a volunteer so I got to see him twice and the other volunteers at the water stops were super friendly. Water and Gatorade were plentiful and the weather was so nice.
By the second loop, I felt much better. I didn’t try to scoot down any trails and realized that by lowering myself it made things harder. Granted, I wasn’t running fast but I also wasn’t coming to a dead stop when the trail got interesting.
Just as I got back to the section where I thought I got to head to the finish line, there was a sign that said I had to go in the opposite direction. What the heck? So to the left I went and found a whole new challenge. There was a hill that went almost straight up and had a large, white rope hanging to the side of it. Whoa…. I began to climb up and it wasn’t nearly as tough as it looked! Hey, I may actually have more upper body strength than once assumed. Hee hee…
The trail looped back toward the finish line and I hear Holly and Steve cheering me in. What a race! It’ll go down as one of the toughest I’ve done. And yet, I definitely want to do it again! I will add that I wore trail shoes, which I almost didn’t and they made a HUGE difference. I could feel them gripping in areas that I would have most certainly slipped on.
It’s only a flesh wound!
We did it!
My overall time was 2:43. I know I can do it faster if I practice on those crazy areas and feel more comfortable with them. It was a great day and kudos to Erin for Going 2:27 and getting 2nd in our age group!