Sunday, September 25, 2016

A busy running week!

This week : 
M : 5.6 / 7:51 / 276 ft
W : 6.6 / 7:37 / 436 ft 
R : track workout 5.2 
group run 3.7 / 7:38 / 128 ft
Sa : Growler Relay 5.1 /8:01 / 853 ft
Growler Relay 5.6 / 7:05 / 0 ft
Su : 3.1 / 7:59 / 72 ft
total miles : 34.9


I made myself work pretty hard this week!  Trying to get back to where running below an 8 min/mile pace doesn't feel to hard!  I want 7:30 to be my jogging pace, not my workout pace.  I started another new pair of shoes on Monday.  I found a pair of Wave Enigmas on Amazon for only $40!  The Enigmas were the best shoes for my feet when I was recovering from tendonitis, but they were slightly more expensive than my other models, and they didn't last nearly as long.  The mesh on top of my toes ended up ripping in the same spot on both pairs of shoes that I went through, so I ended up not buying a third pair at the time.  But I think those were 3s, and the ones I just found were 5s.  It looks like they've fixed that weak mesh problem, and hopefully these ones will hold up better.  Since my feet have been grumbling a bit lately, I figured it would be a good idea to switch back to the more supportive shoes for a bit.  

On Wednesday, I was running later in the day because it was faculty meeting day, and I wasn't sure I was going to get my 6 miles for the day.  I very nearly ended the run around 5.5 miles, but talked myself into adding one more loop, and talked myself into pushing harder for that last mile.  I ended up being really pleased with the run. 

On Thursday I decided to check out my school's track for the first time and do a track workout.  The track is asphalt, with 8 lanes.  I ran a 4 lap warmup in lane 8, then switched direction, moved to lane 5, and did 200, 400, 800, 800, 400, 200.  I did a 200 jog after the 200s, and a 400 jog after the 400s and 800s.  I switched direction again halfway through.  Then I finished off with a 2 lap jog in lane 8, after switching direction again.  I had hoped for a good sprint workout for my legs, but unfortunately the inner field was being mowed during my workout, and my lungs struggled pretty badly.  I did not let myself use my inhaler during the workout, but I definitely was a lot slower than I wanted to be. I ran as fast as my lungs would allow, but my legs were really struggling from lack of sufficient oxygen.  


Post-workout stretching.  Gorgeous clouds. 


After my track workout I headed home and had about 20 minutes before I headed back out for the Thursday group run.  I was hoping to just do an easy short jog with the group, but Amanda was there so when the rest of the group headed for the Creeper Trail which neither of us can stand, we went out on our own.  We were joined by Corey, who I hadn't met before, but who might be my new running partner...if we can arrange schedules.  He is faster than me, so I'm hoping we will be able to work something out!  I was struggling to keep up with him and Amanda on our short run, since I was tired from my workout, but I managed not to get dropped.  We were supposedly "taking it easy." 

Saturday was the  Growler Relay in Salem, VA, which was lots of fun.  
Here's a profile of my first leg.  (The second one was dead flat and not worth a profile)
The HRM claims my HR was at 247 at the very beginning.  Since I'm still alive (I think) I'm going to go ahead and assume it made a mistake. 

Today was just a shakeout jog.  One of my legs is bothering me from the stretch of Rt 311 I had to run at the end of the day yesterday that was pretty heavily slanted.  I'm hoping it recovers quickly with stretching.  

Roanoke Growler Relay

I found out about this event sometime early in the summer, and asked around until it sounded like I had enough interest to put a team together.  When I tried to register, we were too late and all 25 team spots had been taken, but I got us on the waiting list.  A week or two later, they accepted 3 more teams, and we were in.  But...everyone suddenly found out about other obligations (like...their kid's soccer games), and suddenly I had no team.  I found one other person who was definitely in.  And then it was a scramble trying to find others so that we wouldn't each have to run half of the 53.2 mile course.  Jessica was able to recruit one more runner, and I had two more people who were solid maybes.  Then I moved to Abingdon, and started trying to recruit from the running group there.  I got one recruit there, and thankfully my 2 maybes came through, for a team of 6.  I took everyone's input about which leg they wanted to run, and made the leg assignments, giving Lauren and I each two in order to fill the eight legs.  (I took the two that were supposed to be the most uphill...of course)

Once I had the team put together, I booked a room at a motel only a mile from Parkway Brewing, where the relay started and finished.  Everyone else also booked rooms there, and then I picked a pizza/pasta place for us to meet for a team dinner the night before.  Lauren was unable to make it because of work, but the rest of us had a great time, and Lauren joined us Saturday morning in time to drive to the start.  It was forecasted to reach 90 degrees on Saturday, and if it didn't actually make it that high, it was definitely close!  I'm sure it was over 90 with the heat rising off of the roads.

Pre-run team photo

9:40 AM, Lauren started us off with a smile and a wave!

Once Lauren took off, the rest of us piled in the car and drove to the next transition point to play the games they had set up for us, and to wait for my turn.  Before we knew it, Lauren was flying in, and I hadn't even turned my watch on to find a GPS signal yet.  It took about a minute for me to get a signal, but then I was off on a 2 mile uphill climb, complete with switchbacks up a mountain.  This leg had been advertised as the hardest, and uphill.  It was uphill...but only for the first 2 miles.  I was disappointed to reach the top and discover I had to run down the other side and then flat for the rest of the leg.  The downhill wasn't quite as steep as the uphill, so I was able to open up my stride and fly down it without worrying about hurting myself from the pounding, and then I kept pushing as much as I could on the flat, although the heat was definitely not helping.  



I finished and handed off to Jessica who we thought was going to have a moderate 8.4 mile course.  

Once Jessica left, we completed the game challenge for that transition point.  Each one of us had to throw a frisbee through a hula hoop on top of a stick.  It took me too many tries to count...but I finally got mine in.  We piled back in the car to drive to the next transition point, and found out very quickly that Jessica's leg was no where near as moderate as described.  It was quite hilly, and there wasn't a lot of shade either.  
Jessica finishing her hilly/melty leg with a smile. 

Ross then took off on his 7.5 mile leg.  Which turned out not to be too terribly hilly, but it also had no shade.  We drove to the next transition point, which was at Flying Mouse brewery.  By this point, I was in desperate need of lunch.  I had snacked a bit, but really wanted a giant sandwich.  There was supposed to be a food truck at the brewery, but it was running late.  I was supposed to run the next leg, but I knew I was not going to make it through that 7.5 miles in the sunlight without a decent meal first.  I lucked out, because Lauren felt up to that leg, and was happy to give away the last leg, so we traded.  
Ross finishing his leg, coming up the brewery drive.

Once Lauren took off, we waiting a little longer while those who were done for the day enjoyed a beer, and then gave up on the food truck and decided to find somewhere else to grab food.  Thankfully there was a subway nearby.  I inhaled a 6 inch sandwich, and it was the first time in about 10 years that I wished I had gotten a footlong instead.  By the time we drove past Lauren, she only had about a mile left, so Mike didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare for his leg, but he was ready just in time. And was able to take off as soon as she arrived and passed off the key that we were given as a baton.  




Those two legs were no less sunny and hot in the reverse direction than they had been originally.  We had lots of time at the next transition point, where the challenge was to place about 10 playing cards on top of an empty beer bottle, and attempt to blow off all but the bottom one.  It was so windy, it was nearly impossible.  Finally, they took pity on us and said if we could put just 2 cards on the bottle and get the top one off, we'd get the credit.  We eventually succeeded in that.

That transition point had the best view.  
  
Dave headed out on his leg, the 7th of 8. 

Back over the mountain to the transition point where I started my first leg, to wait for my last leg.  Once again, I was caught off guard by how quickly our runner came in and I was not ready.  But again, I waited impatiently for the GPS signal, and then I was off.  It was hard to get going again after standing around all day and not eating well, but I pushed hard to get the leg done.  My first two miles were under 7 min/mile, and my average for the 5.1 miles ended up at 7:05, which I was pleased with.  I was also pleased to accomplish that without too much lung trouble!  I crossed the finish line around 5:20.  We were the second team to finish.  The only team to beat us had started about 45 minutes later, and finished about an hour before us...so...we didn't stand a chance against them.  Of course, this was a non-competitive fun run so there was no prize for being first or second anyway.  

Finishing strong. 

Post-run team photo.  
After we had devoured our hamburgers and had a bit of recovery beer. 

All in all, it was a fantastic day.  We all had a blast despite the heat, and are hoping to do it again next year.  And now that we have this one under our belts, we know what to do to be better prepared next time!  Like...bringing better food/snacks with us, getting team shirts, bringing chairs for the transition points...etc. 


Update 10/2/16
The official photos were posted today!  They got some great ones of me!
It's rare for me to ever be smiling in an official photo, but I made an effort to smile for the cameras this time, and it looks like I succeeded!  They didn't have a single photo of me without a smile.






Roanoke Growler Relay

I found out about this event sometime early in the summer, and asked around until it sounded like I had enough interest to put a team together.  When I tried to register, we were too late and all 25 team spots had been taken, but I got us on the waiting list.  A week or two later, they accepted 3 more teams, and we were in.  But...everyone suddenly found out about other obligations (like...their kid's soccer games), and suddenly I had no team.  I found one other person who was definitely in.  And then it was a scramble trying to find others so that we wouldn't each have to run half of the 53.2 mile course.  Jessica was able to recruit one more runner, and I had two more people who were solid maybes.  Then I moved to Abingdon, and started trying to recruit from the running group there.  I got one recruit there, and thankfully my 2 maybes came through, for a team of 6.  I took everyone's input about which leg they wanted to run, and made the leg assignments, giving Lauren and I each two in order to fill the eight legs.  (I took the two that were supposed to be the most uphill...of course)

Once I had the team put together, I booked a room at a motel only a mile from Parkway Brewing, where the relay started and finished.  Everyone else also booked rooms there, and then I picked a pizza/pasta place for us to meet for a team dinner the night before.  Lauren was unable to make it because of work, but the rest of us had a great time, and Lauren joined us Saturday morning in time to drive to the start.  It was forecasted to reach 90 degrees on Saturday, and if it didn't actually make it that high, it was definitely close!  I'm sure it was over 90 with the heat rising off of the roads.

Pre-run team photo

9:40 AM, Lauren started us off with a smile and a wave!

Once Lauren took off, the rest of us piled in the car and drove to the next transition point to play the games they had set up for us, and to wait for my turn.  Before we knew it, Lauren was flying in, and I hadn't even turned my watch on to find a GPS signal yet.  It took about a minute for me to get a signal, but then I was off on a 2 mile uphill climb, complete with switchbacks up a mountain.  This leg had been advertised as the hardest, and uphill.  It was uphill...but only for the first 2 miles.  I was disappointed to reach the top and discover I had to run down the other side and then flat for the rest of the leg.  The downhill wasn't quite as steep as the uphill, so I was able to open up my stride and fly down it without worrying about hurting myself from the pounding, and then I kept pushing as much as I could on the flat, although the heat was definitely not helping.  



I finished and handed off to Jessica who we thought was going to have a moderate 8.4 mile course.  

Once Jessica left, we completed the game challenge for that transition point.  Each one of us had to throw a frisbee through a hula hoop on top of a stick.  It took me too many tries to count...but I finally got mine in.  We piled back in the car to drive to the next transition point, and found out very quickly that Jessica's leg was no where near as moderate as described.  It was quite hilly, and there wasn't a lot of shade either.  
Jessica finishing her hilly/melty leg with a smile. 

Ross then took off on his 7.5 mile leg.  Which turned out not to be too terribly hilly, but it also had no shade.  We drove to the next transition point, which was at Flying Mouse brewery.  By this point, I was in desperate need of lunch.  I had snacked a bit, but really wanted a giant sandwich.  There was supposed to be a food truck at the brewery, but it was running late.  I was supposed to run the next leg, but I knew I was not going to make it through that 7.5 miles in the sunlight without a decent meal first.  I lucked out, because Lauren felt up to that leg, and was happy to give away the last leg, so we traded.  
Ross finishing his leg, coming up the brewery drive.

Once Lauren took off, we waiting a little longer while those who were done for the day enjoyed a beer, and then gave up on the food truck and decided to find somewhere else to grab food.  Thankfully there was a subway nearby.  I inhaled a 6 inch sandwich, and it was the first time in about 10 years that I wished I had gotten a footlong instead.  By the time we drove past Lauren, she only had about a mile left, so Mike didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare for his leg, but he was ready just in time. And was able to take off as soon as she arrived and passed off the key that we were given as a baton.  




Those two legs were no less sunny and hot in the reverse direction than they had been originally.  We had lots of time at the next transition point, where the challenge was to place about 10 playing cards on top of an empty beer bottle, and attempt to blow off all but the bottom one.  It was so windy, it was nearly impossible.  Finally, they took pity on us and said if we could put just 2 cards on the bottle and get the top one off, we'd get the credit.  We eventually succeeded in that.

That transition point had the best view.  
  
Dave headed out on his leg, the 7th of 8. 

Back over the mountain to the transition point where I started my first leg, to wait for my last leg.  Once again, I was caught off guard by how quickly our runner came in and I was not ready.  But again, I waited impatiently for the GPS signal, and then I was off.  It was hard to get going again after standing around all day and not eating well, but I pushed hard to get the leg done.  My first two miles were under 7 min/mile, and my average for the 5.1 miles ended up at 7:05, which I was pleased with.  I was also pleased to accomplish that without too much lung trouble!  I crossed the finish line around 5:20.  We were the second team to finish.  The only team to beat us had started about 45 minutes later, and finished about an hour before us...so...we didn't stand a chance against them.  Of course, this was a non-competitive fun run so there was no prize for being first or second anyway.  

Finishing strong. 

Post-run team photo.  
After we had devoured our hamburgers and had a bit of recovery beer. 

All in all, it was a fantastic day.  We all had a blast despite the heat, and are hoping to do it again next year.  And now that we have this one under our belts, we know what to do to be better prepared next time!  Like...bringing better food/snacks with us, getting team shirts, bringing chairs for the transition points...etc. 


Update 10/2/16
The official photos were posted today!  They got some great ones of me!
It's rare for me to ever be smiling in an official photo, but I made an effort to smile for the cameras this time, and it looks like I succeeded!  They didn't have a single photo of me without a smile.






Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trying to get the miles in...

Trying to tread that fine line between upping my mileage and running faster, and not overdoing it...sometimes I really just want to rewind time to when I had the mileage and the speed easily and wasn't hurting anywhere.  I keep feeling tendonitis twinges in my feet lately, and I'm fairly certain that it means my orthotics are worn out and I need new ones, but I'm not sure how I'm going to get them right now since I'm not in Lewisburg anymore.  Maybe I'll be able to get to the physical therapy place over my 4 day Columbus Day weekend.  It's probably the only time I'll be in town when the place is open.

I was pleased with my mileage in the first half of the week.  I had to good 6+ mile runs on Monay and Tuesday.  I'm trying to impose a 6 mile minimum on myself again.  On Tuesday, no one else at the group wanted more than 3-4 miles, so I started with them and then once we hit the rail trail I took off.  I was running pretty hard, but then ran even harder for miles 3 and 5.  I turned around at 3.3, and the goal was to catch the tail end of the group before they finished so that I could start and finish with the group.  I caught a few guys with 1/2 mile to spare.  Miles 3 and 5 had a 30 second difference, even though they were at the same effort.  This was partly due to the fact that the trail is slightly more uphill on the way back, and partly because my lung capacity was less for the fifth mile.



Wednesday was my day off as usual.  On Thursday I got in a good 6+ miler before the group run, and was hurting by the end, so I figured I would just run an easy few miles with the group.  However, Amanda showed up that night, and she is the one other group person who runs my pace, so my plan went out the window.  I then took Friday off both because I needed it, and because I drove straight from work to Lewisburg.  (I was talking to a friend on Wednesday evening and decided that I just couldn't wail til Columbus Day weekend to visit again...)  I meant to do a longer run in Lewisburg on Saturday, but that didn't happen.  I almost didn't run on Sunday either, but ended up getting in a jog with Lex shortly before I left town.  

This week : 
M : 6.2 / 7:36 / 479 ft
T : 6.6 / 7:15 / 210 ft
R : solo 6.1 / 7:53 / 348 ft
group 5.2 / 8:10 / 135 ft
Sa : horse ride 1 hour
Su : 3.1 w/Lex / 10:24 / 240 ft
run total : 27.2 miles


Had a great trail ride with Sue on Saturday, and she took this awesome picture of Pony and I both looking pretty happy!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Trying to find motivation

It used to be that no day was complete without a run.  If I didn't run before work in the morning, it was the first thing I did after work.  And I wanted to run.  Every day.  I didn't get home and think to myself that maybe it would be ok to skip the run because I just wasn't feeling it.  I was always feeling it.  I've been noticing lately that that is gone.  Now I get home and just don't feel it many days.  I guess there is a combination of reasons for that.  I suspect that one of the culprits is all the time I took off for tendonitis.  I had to adapt and learn not to need the run so badly simply because it wasn't an option for so many months.  And I'm beginning to think that the other culprit is the stress factor.  Running has always been my stress reliever.  My job over the past 8 years was often high-stress, and I absolutely needed a run at the end of the day to de-stress.  It was really hard for me to deal with the inability to run during my bouts with tendonitis because it meant I was unable to really de-stress at the end of each day.  I finally left that job, and have found myself in a job that has, so far, been stress free!  It kinda weirds me out... Each day the school day ends and I find myself continuing to work because I want to.  I'm not in a hurry to leave because I am enjoying what I do and I don't mind continuing to work.  This is so opposite from my last job where I had to get home and go for a run asap before my head exploded. When I do eventually get home from work, I don't need the run, and because I don't need it, I am finding it harder to make myself do it.  I know I do and did enjoy running, but at some point I guess it became more about needing it than wanting it.  And now I have to learn how to want it again.  And I think another part of the problem right now is that I'm in a new area and I haven't found a good loop that I like.  I'm not used to the flat yet, and all the flat parts in between the hills sap my energy and make me want to quit.  I'm hoping that I'll adjust soon and be able to enjoy running around my new town.

Monday was my last day in Lewisburg for the long weekend.  I had donuts for breakfast with the kids.  I was a little worried about running after donuts, but I hadn't had a chance to run at all earlier in the weekend, and I couldn't leave town without revisiting my beloved hills.  So I set out for a run, thinking I might manage 3-5 miles.  I ran 9+ miles.  My legs were so happy to be back on the old familiar hills.  The weather was gorgeous with a chill in the air but warm sunshine.  And I didn't want to stop.  So I ran until my hip started to feel broken, and then I stopped.  It was the best run I've had in a long time!

Today I went for a "longer" run.  I had biked most of the loop, and knew it would come out to be somewhere over 6 miles, but couldn't remember exactly how long it was.  And I didn't let myself pull up the map to check, because I needed a longer run and just needed to make myself get out there and do it.  I also made myself push the pace a little bit, because I've been settling into a jog too often lately and am losing the ability to push and run faster.  The loop turned out to be 7.5, and I was hurting at the end.  I used to run 7-8 miles each day and feel great.  And now 7.5 feels like a chore.  I'd love to blame all the flatness, but that can't be the only problem.  I have got to find my motivation and start training hard again.

Last night I was looking at races in the area over the next month or two.  I found a half marathon not too far away from me, on October 1.  I think I'm going to sign up, just to give myself a reason to start training harder.  I have another half in Roanoke in November, and I'm hoping that the October 1st race will jump start my training and then hopefully I can keep it going in order to do really well in November.

I also realize that doing a group run twice a week with people who are slower than me is not helping my own training.  But, they are the only people I know in town right now, and they are fun to hang out with.  I may have to start running alone on at least one of those nights though...I can always still finish around the same time as the group and join them to socialize afterwards...not sure what I will end up doing, but something is going to have to change if I want to get my speed and endurance back.

This week : 
M : run 9.2 / 8:09 / 823 ft
T : group hills 5.5 / 8:13 / 390 ft
Creeper Trail w/ Glenn 5.6 / 8:10 / 171 ft
R : early morning speed work 4 / 8:00 / 0 ft
warm-up, 4x400 with fast jog 400 recoveries, cool-down
F : bike w/Paul 13.9 / 14.9 mph / 981 ft
Sa : bike 18.7 / 17.3 mph / 1066 ft
Su : run 7.5 / 7:36 / 446 ft

bike total : 32.7 miles
run total : 31.8 miles


There's this random bike lane on the road by my street that is almost exactly a quarter mile long.  It's really random and it doesn't make much sense, especially since it ends right before a blind curve, but it is useful for sprints...

Sprints going north, fast jog recovery going south. My times weren't super consistent, but you can tell I was dying on the 3rd one and then put in extra effort on the 4th one trying to make up for it.

I was going to do a long run on Saturday, but didn't want to set an alarm.  I went to bed at 11 and was just hoping that I wouldn't sleep too late.  I was tired though, and didn't want to set an alarm because I didn't want the long run badly enough to deprive myself of much-needed sleep.  I didn't wake up til 11 AM.  I am loving this bedroom that doesn't have an east-facing window...  It was too hot for a long run by the time I was up and moving, so I decided I should bike instead and do a slightly shorter run after church on Sunday. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

run, bike, ride

Running fell by the wayside at the end of this week, as I packed up and headed straight to Lewisburg after work on Friday.  But I biked an old familiar route in Lewisburg on Saturday morning, and got to ride my horse on Saturday and Sunday, which was awesome.

This week : 
M : run 5 / 7:42 / 308 ft
T : group run 5.5 / 7:51 / 151 ft
R : group run 4.7 / 9:10 / 203 ft
Sa : bike with Stu 22.4 / 16.2 mph / 1581 ft
trail ride 1:40
Su : trail ride 1:14
total miles run : 15.2
total miles biked : 22.4


Tuesday's group run was an out and back on the Creeper Trail.  I stuck with someone for 3.3 miles, then he stopped for water and I decided to keep going.  So I ran hard until I reached the beginning of the trail, then turned around and continued running hard until I found him again and finished the run back to the brewery with him.  It ended up being about 1.5 miles of hard running under 7 min/mile pace for me.

Ready to head home for the long weekend!

A rare occurrence of Pony actually wanting to hang out with me after I put her back in the field. 
Is it possible she actually missed me?!

The tiniest little toad was hanging out on the hitching post...totally unfazed by Pony.



 Sunday Funday.