Sunday, June 26, 2016

week of laziness

Monday should have been a day off, after a half marathon on Saturday and a long mountain hike on Sunday...but Monday is Pub Run day so I ran.  And then I proceeded to not exercise again until today.  I can perhaps blame the weather for some of that...but really I was just being lazy.  At least today's run was decent.  It was hot out and I was not quite hydrated enough, but I still felt surprisingly good for a whole 5 days off, so I guess all the time off wasn't such a bad thing.

This week : 
M : Pub Run 3.2 / 7:24 / 0 ft
Sa : hike 2.5 / 21:06 / 440 ft
Su : Run 4.2 / 7:42 / 282 ft
total miles run : 7.4

Yesterday was Holly's and my last WV photo adventure together before she moves back to Michigan.  Photos will be posted in a later post. So sad to be losing my photo-adventure partner!

McAfee Knob 6/19/2016

This hike was the last part of my Roanoke adventure with Jessica.  I've been wanting to do this hike for a long time, but the combination of it being almost 2 hours away, plus a 4 mile mountain hike each way, made it unfeasible for me to do alone as part of a day trip.  But when I signed up for Race 13.1 Roanoke, I decided I would spend two nights in the hotel and do the hike on the way home.  The trailhead was only 20-30 minutes away from Roanoke, and right on Rt 311, which is one of the roads that will get me home from Roanoke.  (just not one of the fastest ones)

Let's see...I had 1 quart of water, of which I drank about half.  
I was wearing Chaco sandals.
No flashlight.
We started around 10 AM.
We did stay on the trail the whole time.
I had some pretzels and cashews in my backpack.  Ate a little bit at the top of the hike.
No raingear or extra clothing.
Common sense?  I always have that.  (Might not always use it though.)

There were trails leading out of both sides of the parking lot, and it was not immediately obvious which direction was going to take us where we wanted to go.  Finally we just went to one of the trail heads and saw an arrow pointing the other way telling us how far it was to McAfee Knob.  Problem solved.  We crossed over 311 from the parking lot and started our hike.  

It was a good climb, certainly tiring, but I pushed the pace going up because I didn't want to take too long on the climb and then feel rushed to get photos at the top and run back down the mountain.  It took us about 1.5 hours to get to the top, and then we spent about an hour up there taking photos, snacking, and enjoying the view before heading back down.  

We could not have asked for a more perfectly gorgeous day!

Who needs hiking boots?

Not everyday that you get to look down on the birds. Or be at their level. 

The hike back down was not too enjoyable, but we made it.  Heat plus tired feet had us dragging, plus going down sandy mountain trails is not exactly pleasant on a good day.  The view from the top was worth every bit of pain though!

We stopped at the Swinging Bridge restaurant in Paint Bank for lunch, which I think was roughly halfway between the trail and home.  It was crowded because it was Father's Day, so it was a little slow, but the food was good.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Race 13.1 Roanoke 2016

This year's race went ever so much better than last year's.  It has something to do with the fact that this year I did not go off course and run 16 miles instead of 13.  And because of that little mishap, Race 13.1 paid my race entry this year.  And then I came in first place and got prize money, complaints about this race experience!

My friend Jessica came with me on this trip, so we decided to make a weekend of it.  Dinner out on Friday evening plus a trip to the mall, race Saturday morning, thai food and sushi for lunch, dinner and drinks out Saturday night (thank you Uber!), checked a hike off my bucket list on Sunday, and had lunch on the way home.

We arrived in Roanoke around 5 on Friday, went straight to Fleet Feet to get our race bibs, and then checked into the motel.  This is about the 5th time I've stayed at the Ramada Roanoke.  I like it because it is within walking distance of my races.  It's not the nicest place I've ever stayed, but it's usually good enough.  This time our non-smoking room smelled like a combination of cigarettes and sweaty feet.  Mostly sweaty feet.  Like, men's locker room sweaty feet.  I think I'll be staying at a friend's house in Roanoke from now on.

We planned to hit the breakfast buffet at the Ramada on Saturday morning before the race, but when we got there they didn't have ANY fresh fruit, and most of what they had was donuts (gross). breakfast was the hunk of banana bread I had brought, and a Kind bar.  Not a whole lot of fuel, but I had only brought 2 Kind bars, and I gave the second one to Jessica for her breakfast.  I was a bit worried about the lack of a proper breakfast before a half marathon, but I figured it was as good a time as any to find out what I could do without proper fuel.  I had also decided that I didn't feel like making my usual post-race protein drink for this I was also risking a huge crash after the race.  Hooray for experimentation!

I ran a mile warm-up, stood around for another 15 or so minutes, and finally the race started.  I didn't want to start right on the line, but it appeared that no one else wanted to either, so I finally stepped up along with a handful of guys.  I tried not to start out too fast, but even with a pace that felt like a jog, I was in the top ten.  And no other females were near me.  I did my best to keep a relaxed-feeling pace as long as possible, and felt pretty good for the first 2 or 3 miles, before the awful flatness of the course started wearing me out.  Whenever even the tiniest hill came along, I used it to re-energize myself and get ahead a bit.  But the longer flat stretches really wore me out.  Clearly I need to start making myself run flats more often...ugh.

Since the course was an out & back, I was able to see where the 2nd and 3rd place runners were.  I was pretty sure that the 2nd place female would only catch me if I fell too far off my pace + she had a really strong kick.  I used my inhaler sometime in the 8th mile, because I was starting to struggle on the breathing and really didn't want to let it get to a point where the oxygen debt started hurting my legs.  I started trying to pick up the pace a bit during the last 5k.  It ended up being spurts of speed followed by backing off when I felt I couldn't maintain the speed.  I did try harder in the last mile, and finished really strong.  Finish time was 1:33:33, and according to my watch the course was over 13.2, which gave me a 7:05 pace.  Was hoping to get under 7:00, but I'm happy with having a strong race & finish, and no injuries.

I downed 2 bottles of water after the race.  I knew I needed some salt as well, but the food options weren't great.  I had a granola bar, and then had to cave in and have a piece of pizza (along with a 3rd bottle of water) because it was the only salty food they were offering, and sitting around for over an hour waiting for awards was too long for me to go without replenishing some salt.

Tiny little hills...better than no hills!

Finisher medal, first place medal, cash prize!

Finishing with a smile...because I saw Jessica across the line taking photos with her phone!

The weekend in food : 

We got a fried calamari appetizer and over half of them were whole calamari. 

Dinner : I loved the mix/match option.  I got to have lobster ravioli, prosciutto wrapped pork, zucchini and a salad for a really reasonable price.  Much more reasonably priced than just getting the lobster ravioli, which I really wanted because...lobster!
I was all delicious, but the pork tasted like it was cooked in a salt bath.  Majorly dehydrating.

Post-race lunch.  Pad thai!

 Saturday evening appetizer : fried oysters

Saturday dinner : Maple Burger.  
It had yummy stuff like bacon and apples on it.

Second Saturday dinner...because we shared the oysters and the burger and then I was still hungry
So I got chicken tenders and fries. 

Sunday breakfast : iced coffee and a chocolate croissant. 

Sunday lunch : Bison BBQ, fries, and cole slaw.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A race and a mountain hike

It has been a long week.  Between dog-sitting and going out of town for the weekend, I haven't slept in my own bed in over a week.  I can't wait to collapse on my clean sheet-ed comfy bed tonight! I get to enjoy it for less than a week before I hit the road again, headed up to RI for a week or so.

I worked 30 hours on my feet this week, then ran a half marathon, and then did an 8+ mile mountain hike.  My feet are dead...and I go back to work for a full day tomorrow.  My feet are definitely going to enjoy my vacation in RI!

This week : 
M : Pub Run 4.6 / 7:26 / 72 ft
 T : run 6 / 8: 00 / 443 ft
R : run 4 / 7:36 / 194
Sa : warm up 1 / 7:13 / 49 ft
race 13.2 / 7:05 / 358 ft
Su : hike 8.2 / 22:11 / 1727 ft
total miles run : 28.8 miles

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Worked many long hours on my feet but still found time to exercise

My new summer job at the brewing company is going well.  I am very unused to spending all day standing, but my feet and legs are adjusting, and my back stopped hurting when we raised my canning-day table about 6 inches.  I spent 1.5 days cleaning kegs (which is a great workout for my arms and back, hooray!) and 2 days putting plastic rings on 6 packs of cans.  The work is mindless and repetitive, but I am finding it really nice to have a stress-free job that doesn't require much thinking.  It is a nice break.

This week : 
M : morning jog 4.4 / 8:41 / 325 ft
Pub Run 4 / 7:20 / 151 ft
T : run 3.1 / 8:01 / 171 ft
R : bike w/Stu 22.8 / 16.4 mph / 1640 ft
F : long run 10.2 / 8:24 / 781 ft
Sa : warm up 1.1 / 7:14 / 0 ft
race 5 / 6:38 / 125 ft
bike w/ Dan 21 / 17.3 mph / 1516 ft
Su : horseback ride 50 min

total run miles : 27.8
total bike miles : 43.7

Monday I ran before work, spent 8 hours working on my feet, and then ran again.  Tuesday I spent another 5 hours on my feet, and then tried to run.  My body said heck no.  So I cut the run short instead of torturing my legs and feet any further.  I can be nice to my body sometimes... And then I even took Wednesday off to let it rest up.  Also I worked another 7 or 8 hours on my feet Wednesday...

I had Friday off from work so I took advantage of the chance to get one more long run in before my next half marathon.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day out and I enjoyed the run immensely.  Even if it was a bit was my first long run in the heat, so I'm not complaining too much about the pace.  

Ronceverte River Race 2016

The moral of this story is...never trust a race director who isn't a runner.  And follow your hunches.  Oh, and just go with the flow and have fun no matter what!

This race used to be a 5 mile race.  It was cancelled in 2013 due to lack of participation in previous years, and it got changed to a 5k in 2014,  which was the first year that I missed it, due to injury.  I missed it in 2015 due to injury as well.  But this year, I was finally able to return.  The race flyer said it was a 5k.  But the River Festival brochure still said 5 mile.  When I was doing my pre-race warm-up, I noticed that the arrows painted on the road were labeled with "5 mile."  I asked the people in charge of the race if it was a 5k or a 5 mile.  I told them about all the conflicting information.  One of them said "a 5k is like, 3 miles, right?" I told them I really would like to know which distance I was running, as it would effect how fast I started out the race.  They told me it was definitely a 5k.

The 20 or so of us that showed up to this very un-advertised race lined up, and were told that there would be two water stations, one a little ways down River Road, and another one at the turn around of the out & back course.  Knowing the road, it sounded to me like those two water stations would have to be awfully close together, but...ok.  The Pageant winners dropped a piece of yellow caution tape that they had stretched across the road, and we all took off, trying not to get tangled in the tape as it fluttered to the ground.

Even though I had my doubts about the "5k" distance, I decided to trust the people putting on the race, and so I took off as fast as I could.  Two high-school looking boys took off fast, but I passed them both in the first half mile.  The first water station was somewhere around 1.5 miles, and the second water station was nowhere in sight.  Now I was getting close to 2 miles, and there was still no sign of the turn-around.  Definitely a 5 miler.  I knew I couldn't hold my pace much longer, so I had to start slowing down.  Also in the back of my mind was the fact that my next half marathon was a week away.  I had felt ok with sprinting a 5k, but killing myself on a 5 miler seemed like less of a good idea.  I continued running hard, but I did not push myself quite as hard as I could have for the rest of the race.

When I crossed the line I let them know that the race was in fact 5 miles, not 5k.  They were very apologetic.  Apparently they didn't communicate well with the road-painters and they had assumed it was still the old distance.  Someone asked if anyone had one of those fancy watches that said exactly how far the course was.  I said yeah I was 4.97 miles.

I finished the 5 miles in 32:57.  Last time I ran this race, in 2012, my time was 33:08.  Always nice to see improvement!  I'm also happy to say that my heart rate stayed below 190, which shows that I am getting into better shape finally.  Nice to see that I can now run hard without my heart trying to beat out of my chest!

I wasn't really upset about the distance, although if I had known ahead of time it was going to be 5 miles, I may have decided to stay home and save my legs for the half marathon.  This was just a little local race run by some people trying to raise money for a good cause.  Some other local runners have said they are boycotting the race because of the disorganization, but I won't go that far.  It's not a chance for me to be competitive, just a chance for me to race myself and see how much faster I can get from year to year.



Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's hard to schedule exercise around all this sleeping...

So much sleeping since school ended...I knew I was tired, but am I really this tired?  Granted, I'm coming off of a couple months of nightmare-filled sleep, so I now that my sleep is mostly dreamless, I know I'm playing catch-up, but still!  I can barely read or watch TV without falling asleep!  And then I sleep for a few hours!  I'll wake up every hour or so during a nap, but each time I feel like I was hit with a ton of bricks and getting up doesn't really feel like an option, so I fall back asleep.  After about 3 hours of that, I usually manage to drag myself off the couch for a run or food, but it's still not easy.  At night, I fall asleep fast, and stay asleep til early morning, but since I don't want to get out of bed that early, I fall back asleep, and then end up hitting the same cycle I get into with naps.  But I'm afraid that if I actually get up between 4 and 6:30 when I wake up naturally, I'll be even more likely to nap later...

I wouldn't really care about all this sleep, (I'm on vacation after all) but I keep missing out on perfectly gorgeous afternoons.  I should be running or biking or horseback riding or picture-taking!

I start my summer job tomorrow, so that will at least keep me too busy to nap most days.  I think.  I don't actually have a schedule yet, all I know is I'm working about 9-5 tomorrow.  Speaking of summer jobs, I love it when opportunities just fall in my lap without my having to put any effort into finding them...  The owner of the local brewery sent me a message the other day asking if I'd like a summer job.  My answer was yes.  Within a few hours of his original message, I had driven out to the brewery and signed all the necessary paperwork.  Sounds like my job will involve a little bit of everything.  Helping can beer, cleaning kegs, whatever other odds & ends come up, maybe even some bartending.  I'm looking forward to the chance to do something completely new and different for a little while!  And since I won't have to be there before 9, there will always be time to exercise first thing in the morning if I am so inclined (a/k/a if I can talk myself into getting out of bed).

This week : 
M : bike 17 / 16.3 mph / 1355 ft
Pub Run 3.2 / 7:32 / 56 ft
T : run 3.5 / 7:01 / 285
cooldown jog 0.8 / 7:56 / 0
W : National Running Day group run 3.6 / 7:28 / 0 ft
F : bike 24.6 / 17.4 mph / 1647 ft
Sa : long run 14.5 / 8:15 / 919 ft
Su : bike w/ Lauren 21.1 / 17.5 mph / 1335 ft

total miles run : 25.7
total miles biked : 62.7

The Pub Run this week was brutal.  It was really hot and humid, and we could barely drag ourselves through the two laps.  We agreed that there was no way we were going to even attempt a 3rd, just finishing the 2nd lap was hard enough!  

I was exhausted and cranky on Tuesday after a long day of grading standardized tests for all the other teachers, and went straight to the couch when I got home.  But as I was lying there, I thought about how I can't let mental lethargy stop me from exercising because that is the beginning of a very bad cycle.  So I put on my sprinting shoes, went out the door, and pounded the pavement.  I stopped the watch when my legs/lungs hurt as bad as my brain did, and restarted the watch to jog home.  

I should have done my own run, or at least bike, before the group run on National Running Day...but I spent half the day working in my classroom, and I think I spent the other half the day napping.  

Friday's ride brought out my worst exercise-induced allergies yet.  I had hives all over my shins by the time I got home.  It didn't help that there was a chance I was in poison ivy the night before, so I wasn't positive if it was allergies or the poison ivy at first...  However, I was pretty sure that any contact I had with the poison ivy would have only been my feet, and the hives did fade a bit after my shower, although they lingered faintly for the rest of the day.  So, I almost found out for sure that I am allergic to poison ivy...but nope.  I still don't know if I am allergic to it or not.  

It was gorgeous out on Friday, and I should have gone for a run after the bike ride, or at least gone to ride my horse, but I found out that one of my friends was also off work, so I ended up spending the rest of the day hanging out in the sunshine with her, drinking refreshing minty beverages.  Gotta have fun once in a while, right?

I then realized that I have a half marathon in two weeks and haven't been doing many runs over 4 miles, so I decided I had better do a long run and make sure my body still knew how.  I thought about how many miles I should do, and then decided that running for time was better.  I wanted to spend 2 hours out there running, so that even if I bomb the race on the 18th, I should at least have trained longer than it will take me to finish.  I'm mostly worried about my level of acclimatization to the heat, but it ended up cool(er) and foggy yesterday, so although I didn't get to really test my body in the heat, I definitely had practice with the humidity!  I should probably try to run at least 7 on a hot day soon though...or just desperately hope it doesn't get hot on the 18th until after 8:30ish.  Anyway, as far as long runs go, it felt pretty decent.  My left hip felt like it was going to break off by the end, but that's more or less normal, especially considering I haven't been stretching as well lately.  I didn't bring food or water on the run with me, and didn't feel any worse for the wear there, so that's good.  

Lots of rain in the forecast today, but it was only barely raining at 8:45, and Lauren and I knew it was go for it or take the day we went for it.  The roads were soaked from all the overnight rain, so we were going to get pretty wet whether it was raining or not.  We enjoyed our ride in the light rain, and then I did a few more miles on my own after.  She didn't have time to do more than our original 13 miles, but I had time, and figured I may as well get at least 20 while I was out there. Plus, the sun came out just about as soon as we parted ways.   

Monday's ride

Trying to re-hydrate after Monday's run : 
I didn't even touch the beer until I'd had one and a half tankards of water...

Summer doesn't officially begin until the bikinis and fancy minty cocktails appear.
It has now begun.