Wild Hair Up My...

Yeah so, I am officially signed up for the Wild West Relay team I was considering joining. My crazy, endurance-mad coworker (who I will not name, but if you know me and happen to know who he is, you know he is an awesome but crazy-ultra-man who does things like 24-hour ski-race UP mountains and such) talked me and a couple of others into it...and $133 later, I am officially running slot 12 of the 200-mile race from Ft. Collins to Steamboat Springs on August 7-8. WTF I am thinking, I don't know.

This is the little bucket of madness I have subscribed myself to filling.

Ultra running has always sounded so ridiculously ridiculous to me, yet by the time I got to the end of reading Born to Run, it had begun to sound completely and utterly natural. A measly 26.2 miles is chump change compared to 125 miles through Death Valley in the summer. Or running down a deer, you know, for dinner or a midday snack. So obviously, it was in the wake of finishing this book that I fell prey to my convincing coworker and decided that the Wild West race was small fries and that I was totally(!) up(!) for(!) it(!!).

Now after a week of 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 12th guessing my decision, I'm not so sure (too late, sister, you already paid and the team is counting on you)...I don't do well without out enough sleep...this is 24 hours in a van with 4 strangers...minimal sleep...no showers...sweaty feet...random food choices...limited bathroom facilities, and what if I don't like my van-mates? That's a lot of hours in a small metal box, with sweaty bodies, if they are annoying...

I'm sure they will be fine and it will turn out to be great fun; my slot is actually only about 13 miles total (3-5-5), it's rated a level "3" on a scale of 1-12, so it is well within my abilities. I bet I'll enjoy it in the end. And if not, hey at least I tried and I have a good excuse to get out of it next year.


Less Fun Than Bingo, More Fun Than Strep

I won't lie or sugarcoat, today's run was not that much fun. But let me start at the beginning.

I have OFFICIALLY started my Denver Marathon training plan. Like, an actual plan, on paper, where I do the workouts it tells me to, rather than just running willy-nilly and changing my schedule every week.

And of course, in true M2 fashion, I promptly changed the schedule during both weeks 1 and 2. But I only made minor adjustments, like swapping days a couple times--I still did the appropriate workouts for the week. That being said, for my week 2 swap, I took Sunday off (instead of monday) and was going to do Tuesday's workout on Monday. Except that I felt kinda crummy when I woke up to run Monday morning, so I decided I'd do it later. (Oh--did I mention Shortie2 came down with strep throat Friday, just in time for my return from Philly? Well yeah. So I've been on strep throat duty, monitoring the rest of the family for any signs or symptoms in order to mitigate the sick damage to our household.) Well, then Shortie1 had soccer camp and it was steamy hot so I never made it out Monday evening. So, schedule shot. Except that on the schedule I was supposed to take Tuesday as rest...great, I'll just do Monday's workout on Tuesday!

And then it poured just as I was heading out to take Shortie1 to soccer camp yesterday, where I was going to run around the path at the soccer park. So, we had to take it inside to the nasty 1/10 mile track. I was supposed to do 4 easy miles, but I think I actually only did about 3.5 as I was NOT feeling the track workout and 32 minutes was all I could stand. My throat was a little ouchie yesterday, so I made a doc appointment for today, just to make sure it's not the dreaded strep.

Which brings us to this morning's Not Fun Run. I got up at 5:20 and was out the door by 5:30. I didn't feel too bad, the throat actually felt better so I figured the 6-mile hill run would be a cinch. The first 2 miles were decent, and after that is usually when I settle in and start rolling...and I kept waiting...and I still just felt all awkward and stilted and my breathing was off and my stride felt weird and my arms felt too high...then too low...then I got hungry. Like tummy-growling hungry, and all i could think about was eating some cheerios (I had eaten a banana and that is usually all I can do before a morning run). And it went downhill from there. By the end, I was starving and wore out.

I knocked it out and finished up, but it was not a great run. Which means my next one will be awesome, right? Right??! RIGHT??!?! (Unless, of course I really DO have strep, in which case my next one will probably suck, too.)


Race Report: Rocky Mountain Half Marathon

Ran into my running club buddy Massud as I was lining up in the corrals, which was a nice surprise. There are a couple race pictures here, but as they are copyrighted, I am not savvy enough to snatch them with the right-click function disabled, and am too cheap to actually purchase them, you have to be stalkerishly interested enough to click through the link to see them. For those only mildly interested, I'll summarize: ignoring the camera X 3; waving to the camera X 1 (because the girls in front of me did); and my clothes look about two sizes too big.

Miles 1-3
Ran with Massud. Since this was his first-ever race and he'd been training for this half for over a year, I went out a little faster than I'd planned, in an attempt to keep him from going out even faster, so that he'd have a good first race. Though it was a beautiful morning, it was warm out already was a little worried that this faster-than-planned start might not bode well for me. But by that point, I'd already decided I'd just roll with it and see what happened...so much for my race plan/strategy.

Mile 4-7
Was already sweating like a mutha at this point, so made sure to have my water at the aid stations. And, as a result of vigilant hydrating, had to make a porta-pottie stop about mile 5. Damn...but I was NOT going to try and hold it (been there, done that, and not by choice). Had a Gu at mile 6 as I jog/walked up the big hill by Bronco Stadim.

Mile 7-10
A lovely loop around Sloan's Lake, which was nice and flat and beautiful. Picked up my pace a little more after the nasty hill up, and was feeling better.

Mile 10-12
Enjoyed the return trip back down the hill by the stadium. Had another Gu about mile 11.5 and more water as it the sun was hot.

Mile 13-13.1
Another little downhill and then short uphill going up 20th Street to the finish. I won't lie, the hills wore me out but overally I enjoyed this race and I'll do it again. As for my assessment of the race? It was well-run, there were plenty of aid stations, parking was fairly easy and the corral was more organized that the one at Colfax (this was also a smaller race, though). There were plenty of snacks afterward and I didn't have to wait in any lines to get water, bananas, goldfish crackers or bagels. This race is run run by the same crew as the Denver Marathon, and shares part of the same beautiful course with it, so it seems like they have their stuff together and I am looking forward to that race in October. Though cotton, the shirts at least look good, as do the finisher medals: I highly recommend this one!

Time: 2:11:34
Pace: 10:02
Place: 881/1497 overall
438/912 women
105/203 division

So, I didn't get the sub-2 hour finish that I was shooting for...heck, I didn't even beat my time from the Colfax Half last month, but I think I am actually ok with that. My running is strong, I feel good, and most important, I had fun. I enjoy pushing myself and running hard, but the whole point of why I run is because I simply love it and enjoy it and it's fun for me. So as much as I want to achieve some better race times, I'll know I'll never push so hard that it becomes "not fun" for me. This race was fun.

That said, I will be doing some more targeted speed training (like 1600 interval repeats) this summer and I'll be signing up for another half in the near future to see about that sub-2 hour race. It's in there, and I'll pull it out eventually. Also, I think the Recovery Socks post-race definitely helped. I am a fan.


Running Turmoil: What to Do?

It is lightly raining here. I have been patiently waiting for it to stop since 6:30 this morning, so that I can go for my run outside before spending the afternoon on a 4-hour flight. It doesn't look like it's raining that hard, but everyone out there on the street has an umbrella. So, I am in turmoil about what to do...I don't have a much left in my running window, from a packing/eating/airport commute/logistics standpoint. Do I go run in the rain? It's not lightening, so I think it's safe....but will I look like a Crazy Person (with capitals) here? (In Colorado, I wouldn't hesitate, there would be plenty of other nutso runners out there, too).

What to do?

And NO, treadmill is absolutely not an option.

UPDATE: I ran. And yes, I was the only nutso out there running. And yes, it was heavenly! As was the hot shower...and had I not been alone, I would most definitely have taken GQH's suggestion. (And yeeeesss, glaven I am well-aware that I could have still "indulged" solo but let's just not go there ok? ok.)


Rocky steps...meh

I'm in Philly for work this week....and did a nice little recovery run yesterday after the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon I ran on Sunday. Naturally, I did the lame but obligatory run down to the Museum of Art and charged up the steps, Rocky-style. I found them to be...meh. Not nearly as steep nor long as I always imagined them to be. (And not really worthy of throwing my hands over my head champion-style and hurrahing for myself. Not that I let that stop me...) Going to head out this evening to see if my coworker and I can find/meetup with the Philly Runners, who meet at the Muesum for a free group run around Philly every Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.

Also, I finally bought Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and I have read nearly the whole thing in a day...it is an excellent read and a must for anyone who loves running. Definitely going on my Top 10 book list! Read it!

Rocky Mountain Half race report coming soon, as soon as I get some time to collect my thoughs and see if I can hunt down any of my race pictures. In case you're curious, I will front you with the nuggets that: 1-I did not get my sub-2 hour half marathon; 2-It was still fun; and 3-I was not sore/tired afterward at all, which I suppose I'll attribute to walking aimlessly around Denver International Airport for three hours while waiting for my plane to Philly.


Incredible Shrinking Sports Bra, Take 1 (and 2)

So has anyone else (and by "anyone" I mean the women-folk as I neither want to know or hear about any shrinking manziere experiences that may be lurking out there) experienced this? I have two sports bras--both sweat-wicking, tech fabric types--that shrink when I wear in them. Specifically, when I sweat in them. They are different styles of bras, and made of different fabrics (one is some tree-hugging bamboo fiber concoction, one is earth-polluting synthetic unpronouncable schmah-schmah fabric) but they are both made by Champion. I thought I was imagining the shrinkage, but this morning determined that it is, in fact real (don't ask my testing method, just blindly believe in the validity of the statistic). I would go so far as to say they are even a little loose when dry, pre-run. Post run, suctioned onto me like royal-blue and hot-pink sausage casings, respectively. Is it just me? And if so, why????

As for the body, seems to be holding up, the ART really did work. I ran did 35 minutes on Wednesday, post-ART and did my homework of yoga last night. The hip feels good and loose, but today my gluts are S.O.R.E from the yoga. But it's a good sore....I will definitely be going back to yoga regularly from here on out. Ran 4 miles this morning on my favorite Highline Canal trail with a couple of running buddies (thankfully not the Flying Frenchman, but some more moderatly-paced girls), have a follow up ART session this afternoon, and am feeling good for the race Sunday. Good luck to everybody racing this weekend, and a hearty God Speed; May You Not Die to those individuals attempting a brick in hostile territory. You know who you are.


I heART!!!

Holy enchilada, Active Release Techniques--aka ART (R)--is frickin A-mazing.

Turns out my malady is a tight left hip flexor that is creating a domino effect of tension and pain on the rest of my left leg, hip and back. After a little ART on the flexor and hip, I can move without pain....and touch my toes again! Yay!

My homework is to do yoga (ok, yes, I admit that skipping yoga the past two months was a very, very bad idea), stretch my hip flexor, more ART on Friday...and yes, in all likelihood I can run the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon on Sunday.


I Got Schooled by a Flying Frenchman

I ran on Saturday with 3 guys. The plan was that three of us were doing a 13 mile loop on the trails, and the fourth guy was just doing an out-and-back 6 miles. After taking Thursday/Friday off for my back pain last week (hoping it would magically disappear), by Saturday it wasn't really better but wasn't really any worse, either...I was stretching a lot and I figured I would try the run; it would either make it better or worse. I wasn't sure which.

The four of us had agreed to run a 9:30 pace for the run. But though probably in his 60's, the Flying Frenchman (not to be confused with a Flying Dutchman , of any variety...) is a pretty fast runner (like a ridiculous 3-hour marathoner) and as soon as we started, after we chatted about what our goals for RMHM are next week, and what we ran on our 1-mile time trials, he determined that we should be running faster. I knew this was probably a bad idea for me but I succombed to peer pressure because I felt fine, back was ok, and I could keep up (plus I was NOT going to be the pu$$y-ass girl that couldn't hang with the guys).

That lasted for the first 9 miles. It was preetty warm by then and the remainder of the run was uphill...not impossible, but I started getting tired...my form went to crap...and the back started aching. I finally threw in the towel to walk with about a mile and half left, when the pain nearly forced tears. One guy ran ahead and since I knew my way back to the start, I figured the Flying Frenchman would go with him. Not so.

Instead, as we walked, I was treated to a leeeeennnnnggggtttthhhyyyyyyy discourse on All Things Running. Now, I am not new to running and most of it I already knew...but since he is a fairly nice man who probably meant well, and I don't know him that well (and quite frankly his sexay French accent was entrancing), I just let him blab and feel like he was educating me.

As for the back, I now fear it is actually piriformis strain....and I am still in serious pain. So I guess I am off to the doctor tomorrow to determine if I can be fit to run a half marathon by Sunday. Yay.



I am in complete pain today from a flare up of a recurring back/hip injury sustained while preggers with Shorite1 (tip: don't try to move the bedroom furniture alone when 7 months pregnant). I woke up at 5:00AM to run and, seeing that I could barely walk, then decided that it might not be prudent...I need to be able to make my 13-miler tomorrow morning, my last long run before RMHM next weekend. Even after two extra strength tylenols (which always do the trick for me when horse tranquilizers are out of the question) I am hurting. :-(

In case anyone else in also in need of Friday afternoon-my-God-I just-want-to-go-home-already-and-start-my-weekend-preferably-with-a-big-fat-glass-of-red-wine-or-beer-pick-me-up, I thought I would share my Top 10 Non-Running Blogs today that I regularly find to be hilarious and laugh-out-loud funny. Happy Friday afternoon!

10. http://www.collegehumor.com/article:1775015
9. http://www.theonion.com/content/index (not technically a blog, but too funny to leave out)
8. http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/monologues/6oregontrail.html
7. http://failblog.org/
6. http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/
5. http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/
4. http://lmnop.blogs.com/
3. http://itemnotasdescribed.com/
2. http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/
1. http://www.textsfromlastnight.com/


Gizmo is ALIVE!

Yep, that's my little buddy, alive and well
again, and sitting backwards on my wrist so
I can give you all the thumbs-up to show my joy.

All my previous run data is now deleted, but Praise the Sweet Running Gods, Gizmo's alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you gremlin support center!

Thanks everyone for your gear votes. I bandwaggoned and ordered the flaming pink Recovery Socks (which I will count as both choices 'A' and 'D' because they are 30 bucks, yo and so therefore I must count them toward multiple categories in order to stay guilt-free about going over my self-imposed $15 sock limit...yes, I am that sad). And as a wildcard entry, I am eyeballing a pair of sweet Asics 2140's that are on sale...they are my fav shoe but mostly just considering them cause they're on sale and I'll eventually need another pair this summer, so why not?....but not sure if I can pull the trigger on them.

As for Wednesday's Running Day Runapalooza, I did a full running grab bag, including:
  • 3 easyish/tempoish miles at 8:30-40 pace at Wash Park
  • 1 mile warmup at 8:50 pace at the track
  • 1 mile time trial w/running group........my time=7:26 (my last trial in March resulted in an 8:45 so there is definite improvement there...I guess speedwork really does work)
  • 400 easy pace
  • 2x400 stride chasers with the group
  • 1.25 mile (had to even it out) cooldown at 9:00 pace
GRAND TOTAL 7.03 miles of easy/tempo/speed/stride training. If that doesn't say "I love running" I don't know what does.


National Running Day!

Most of us who love running enough to read, blog, and obsess about it don't need a reason to run. So I don't need NATIONAL RUNNING DAY to get me motivated to run. But is is on it's way to becoming my new favorite holiday! Why? Because I will celebrate with a run (of course) and more importantly, by purchasing some new running gear, guilt-free. But what wondrous gear should I buy???? Show of hands, please:

A - Recovery/compression socks...with monkeys on them (I will find them, and if I can't, then I'll knit them myself, dammit! And no, I do not know how to knit. minor detail)

B - Snazzy running skirt (I'm thinking pink)

C - Fuel belt (definitely NOT snazzy, but rather useful on the 16-18-20-mile runs I have coming up in the next few weeks in the summer heat...assuming it stops RAINING here)

D - Illogically expensive, brightly-colored, hi-tech running socks (but I refuse to spend more than $15 on said socks...they're SOCKS for pete's sake)

E - Some other fun piece of gear that I have yet to think of...suggestions?


Race Lineup

A few of you have asked, so I figured I'd share what I have kind of settled on for my summer training/race plans.

Train to break 2:00 in Rocky Mountain Half on 6/14 by using training plan below. May do some shorter races (5/10k) after the half.

RW Smart Coach set to "Moderate" training for a theoretical marathon on 7/26 (i.e. San Francisco). May or may not actually end up running SFM, but going to train as though I am, and see where it gets me....won't push to the point of injury but want to see what progress I can make by then. Cause I need to be ready for me fall races... will probably do some shorter races for fun and to see if I have gotten any faster...I know there is a 4th of July somethingK near my house.

Depending on how the training goes and if I actually end up doing SFM, I may look for an August marathon. As alternatives, I have the Georgetown-Idaho Springs Half Marathon (close and cheap and a distance I know I can handle) or joining my coworker's team for the Wild West Relay, an ultra relay where I would ultimately end up running about 25 miles in 5-6 mile increments over 24 hours. That's a little outside of my race comfort zone...which means I am scared to do it but that it would probably end up being fun as hell.

Omaha Marathon 9/27 - considering doing this is a newbie "trial" marathon with no pressure just to see how I do, mentally prepare myself, and make adjustments for Denver.

Denver Marathon 10/18- registered and paid, no going back. Plus I want the special Mile High Experience medal I can get for doing both the Rocky Mtn Half and the Denver full. (Seriously, I am not sure that there isn't anything I WON'T do for a cheesy, generic finisher's medal. Try me! ) This isn't exactly the "mile high experience" I have always fantasized about, but that's probably a conversation for another type of blog...

After Denver, I'll see where I'm at and how I feel about doing more marathons....I am posting this now for accountability but probably by the end of June, I'll have changed my plans...