Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cold Rainy Days means lots of time on the Sweatfest

I thought it would be closer to winter before the Sweatfest (indoor bike trainer) became a staple in my daily life.  I was wrong.  It's only September, but I was on the Sweatfest 4 times this week, and it seems like more.  At least I got to ride outside once this week!  I was really hoping for an outdoor ride this weekend, but I wasn't up to braving the cold or rain.

This week : 
M : 35 min trainer intervals : 5x 2 min hard/3 min easy (9.5 miles)
3.3 mile Pub Run 
T : 45 min trainer (10.6 miles)
W : 25 mile ride, 2188 ft of elevation gain, 17.4 avg speed.
Crushed some climbs.
F : 40 min trainer intervals : 2x 10 min @90+ rpms (10.7 miles)
Sa : 60 min trainer (14.9 miles)

total bike miles : 70.9

Hill and Holler Dirt Dash for the United Way

The Dirt Dash is the first trail race to come to the Lewisburg area.  Since I am not running right now, I decided to be the race photographer.  I wasn't to upset about not running, since trail running generally isn't my first choice anyway.  Plus, it was cold and rainy.  However, as I stood out there taking photos of happy smiling runners, I felt a longing for the adrenaline rush that comes with running in a race.  I felt a longing for the feeling of running hard, the feeling of competition, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing a race.  I didn't get to actually feel those feelings yesterday, but I am glad that I got to take part in the day and document the event for the people who did participate in the race.

And I must say, many thanks to the three Boy Scouts who took turns holding a giant umbrella over my camera so that it wouldn't get damaged in the rain!  I would have gotten far fewer photos, and they would have been of compromised quality, if I had had to hold the umbrella myself!


Race Start

In the Woods

Kids Fun Run


First Place, First Prize

Finished a rainy trail race and still smiling!

GES faculty, parents, and students who participated in race day as 
racers, volunteers, and trail-builders.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trying not to's so hard.

The Beckley 1/2 marathon was yesterday.  I spent the week trying to talk myself into taking an extended period of time off from running. And trying to convince myself to accept that I am "in retirement" from half marathons for the foreseeable future.  It's not because the foot pain has gotten overwhelming, or because it is preventing me from running, because it is doing neither of those things.  But it is there.  And it is not going away.  Some days I don't notice it at all.  Other days it is just strong enough to be annoying and remind me that it hasn't left yet.  I was up to 8 mile runs, but I could just tell that half marathon distance and speed were unattainable.  And if I am giving up on my fall half marathons, what is the point in pushing it?  I have a bike and an indoor trainer, so it's not like I won't be able to get adequate exercise if I quit running.  It will prolong my lung issues, I believe, since they are still not resolved, and running is the only thing that really makes them work, but oh well.  I am resigned to spending a lot of money on asthma drugs for the foreseeable future.  The most frustrating part about that, is that if I'm not running like I used to, it is hard to say how effective the drugs are.

I have been against going to the doctor for this foot for various reasons.  The primary reason being that my other foot was more painful, and I spent roughly $1000 on doctors/tests/PT only to find out that the only thing that would help was rest.  I don't have another $1000 to spend for that.  I would be willing to spend money if I knew of a good sports medicine doctor that would explore all possibilities to keep me running.  But I don't know of one.  A friend of mine who works at the hospital has talked to a doctor she knows who might be able to help me.  So I might go see that doctor, we'll see.

In other news, even if I "quit" running, I will still be doing jogs here and there.  A year ago, I tried to start a "Pub Run" in Lewisburg.  It never happened.  I brought up the idea again a few weeks ago.  The first one was scheduled for Sept 7.  A bunch of people had expressed interest, but I think at the time, they didn't realize that it was Labor Day.  I showed up at the meeting place, but no one else did.  I assumed people had gotten busy with the holiday, and resolved not to give up after just one day.  One of my friends told me for sure that they would come to the run this week, so I showed up again.  When I arrived, there was already someone else waiting.  And then another person showed up.  Add my friend and I, and there were 4 of us for the Inaugural Lewisburg Pub Run.  (Roanoke has a weekly pub run that draws somewhere around 100 runners).  We had a good time doing a flat 3 mile jog, and then headed to the Irish Pub for $3 drafts.  All four of us knew of other people that were planning on joining the run sometime in the weeks coming up.  So it looks like this attempt has been a success.  I am hoping that the group will grow, and that it will help bring together the Lewisburg running community.  I think I started the Facebook group for Lewisburg runners about 2 years ago, and it has over 100 members, but there has never been any kind of organized running club.

3 of us made it to the Pub after our run.
See how happy we are to have participated in the Inaugural Pub Run?

In addition to leading the Pub Run each week, I will also continue to jog with one of my 8th grade students once a week for as long as she is interested in continuing.

This week : 
M : 40 min trainer (10.6), 3 mile Pub Run
T : 30 min trainer intervals* (7.9), 3 mile jog w/Luna
W : 22.4 miles with Stu
F : 30 min trainer (7.8)

total miles run : 6
total miles biked : 74.7

* intervals : warm up, 1 min hard/3 min easy x5, cool down

I finished out my week with a ride around the fields today.  Thankfully Pony let me walk up to her today, unlike last Sunday when I had to chase her around the field for an hour before she would let me catch her.  
This guy was hanging out right in front of the barn door.  
The cats were trying to reach him under the door. 
They were not happy with me for not letting them out.

Pony never misses a good post-ride roll.

Post-roll glamour shot.

Such a pretty day.
There were a bunch of monarch butterflies flying around,
 but they were too fast for me to focus my zoom lens. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bike/Photo Adventure #3

Yesterday was a very long day.  It was a good day, but very, very long.  I got up at 4:20 to do my morning torture/sweatfest on the bike trainer.  I was out the door by 7 on my way to school to get my day started because "so much work, so little time." Since my early-to-rise-early-to-bed schedule seems to be working really well for me, I find I am most productive first thing in the morning.  The school day went well.  After school I had time to stop by the bike shop for an event they were having to support the Birthplace of Rivers Monument Campaign and have a beer with a friend.  And then I babysat until about 11:20 at night.  I was exhausted by then, but I needed a bit of time to read and relax in my own house before going to bed, so it was almost 12:30 by the time I fell asleep.  But somehow, towards the end of that 20 hour day, I decided that I needed to go on a bike/photo adventure today.  Because never mind the fact that I am tired, I need to do something fun with my Saturday, not spend it lying around at home.  Also, today was the Beckley 1/2 Marathon and I am sad that I didn't get to run it for the fifth time or win it for the third time.  So I needed to go do something else fun.

As much as I wanted to go somewhere to bike and take photos, I wasn't relishing the idea of a long car trip to get there, so I chose the closest place that I could think of : Babcock State Park.  It's a little over an hour away, but the other places I want to go are 90+ minutes away, so this was my best choice for the day.

I didn't set an alarm because I knew I needed sleep, but I was still up around 8.  Actually I woke up earlier than that, because my internal clock works really well on weekends, but 8 is when I decided I had had something approximating an appropriate amount of sleep.  I managed to get my car packed up and get on the road before 9:30.  When I got to Babcock a little over an hour later, it was gorgeous.  It was tempting to take photos first, but I knew I needed to get the bike ride done before breakfast wore off and I got too hungry to survive a ride.  So I only snapped a few photos, and then hopped on the bike.

I had mapped out two possible routes for myself.  One was a 40 mile loop, the other was a 25 mile loop.  I tried to talk myself into the 40 mile loop, but I haven't done a long ride in awhile, and I haven't done a long ride on this bike yet.  The 40 mile loop had a few serious climbs on it, and the gearing on this bike is not so friendly for climbs.  I am getting used to it, and I imagine it won't take too many weeks of consistent riding to adjust to it and be back to destroying climbs, but that might not happen until next spring.  So, I decided to wimp out and do the shorter loop.  I almost missed the turn, but I caught the numbers on the street name just in time and made the turn.  A mile or so later, the road turned into gravel.  A half mile earlier, I had had to outsprint a dog.  I didn't want to turn around, because I figured it would still be waiting for me in the middle of the road.  So I decided to be optimistic and hope that only a short stretch of the road was gravel, and that my bike would be able to handle the rocks without dumping me or flatting.  I ended up riding my shiny new bike down that awful gravel and dirt road for another mile before giving up.  I had to walk it over a few of the rougher sections.  The road was getting narrower and rougher, and there was no sign of it turning back into pavement anytime soon.  I realized that it was going to be many miles before I reached the road I was supposed to come out on, and that it was a terrible idea to risk most of those miles being gravel, so I gave up, turned around, and bumped and skidded my way back to pavement.  I managed to outrun the dog again.  

If I wasn't feeling up to the 40 mile loop before that adventure, I certainly wasn't up to it afterwards.  So I just backtracked the way I had come, a short way on Rt. 31, then on Rt. 41.  I took 41 back past the State Park until I hit Rt 60, at which point I had reached 19 miles.  I turned around at 60, took a short detour through another part of the State Park, and then headed back to my car.  I had parked halfway up a mountain.  I felt stronger than expected for pretty much the entire ride until I hit the bottom of that mountain.  Then I suddenly felt exhausted.  But I kept on spinning.  I reached the lake where I had parked at about 24.1 miles, and decided that not only was it silly to stop in the middle of a hill, but also that I should get at least 25 miles, so I continued up the hill.  It was rough.  I didn't know when the hill would end, and it seemed like it was going on forever.  But I finally reached the top, which was also the end of the road.  Then I got to coast back down the hill to my car.  

I was very calorie-depleted by that point, so I changed into clean clothes quickly and then devoured my picnic lunch before getting to the photography part of my day.  Since it was early afternoon, the sun was high and the light was terrible for photos.  Add to that the fact that my eye and/or cameras seem to be lying to me about whether or not photos are in focus, and I didn't get very many good photos from today.  But I got a few.  And I was able to edit some of the less-good photos to make them at least look kind of cool.  

All-in-all a fun day.  Yet another adventure where things didn't go entirely according to plan, but that's what makes it an adventure, right?  What matters in the end is that I had a good day and I made it home safe!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

some good runs this week

Tuesday's run was an 8:15 pace, Thursday's run was an 8:08 pace, and on Saturday I decided I wanted to run fast.  I managed to average a 7:13 pace.  I am happy with the pace, but I am not happy that I had to fight really hard for every breath after the first mile or so.  And I had used both inhalers before the run.  Apparently my new miracle drug inhaler isn't so miraculous once I try to run much faster than an 8 min/mile pace.  So that's frustrating.  I know my lungs still need to be strengthened, but it is really hard to accomplish that while also trying not to aggravate my foot, which is still far from 100% as well.  It's usually good for about 5 or 6 miles, and then it starts to hurt a bit.  Obviously that hasn't stopped me from completing 7-8 mile runs, but it is stopping me from running that far every day, and it is looking like it will also prevent me from running in my fall half marathons.  

I have no idea exactly what will happen with my fall races, since I'm not very good at making decisions about running (or not running) and then actually sticking to them, but for now I am telling myself that I would rather keep running like I am and give up on half marathons for awhile, than take off the time it would take for my foot to reach 100% and then have to start from scratch again. Running is far preferable to not running, even if the runs are slower and shorter than I want them to be.

This week : 
M : bike 21.1
T : run 7.2  / trainer 0.4
W : trainer 7.7
R : run 8.1
F : bike 24.7
Sa : run 5.3

total miles run : 20.6
total miles biked : 54.1

My torture device (a/k/a indoor bike trainer) arrived this week.  Which means I can now bike no matter what the weather/temperature.  I tested it out the day it came, thinking I would go for about 15 minutes.  I lasted less than 2 minutes.  No fun at all.  But I got up the next morning determined to survive a workout, and suffered through 30 minutes on it.  1.5 episodes of Arrested Development kept my mind slightly occupied, but it still wasn't very fun.  

My living room is getting crowded.

 Gorgeous day for a ride on Friday.

I don't make it to the top of leaderboards very often...and I may not manage to stay on top for long.
But I'll brag about it while I can!

New pair of running shoes.  
I love it when I can find the right model in a color I like!