Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tried to take it easier this week. Except for race day, of course.

This week : 

M : 6.3 / 7:42 / 318 ft

T : w/Ben 6.2 / 7:37 / 299 ft

R : early group 4.8 / 8:48 / 279 ft
w/Amanda 4 / 8:06 / 105 ft

Sa : team warm up : 0.6 / 9:10 / 0 ft
my warm up : 1.4 / 7:20 / 0 ft
race : 3.7 / 6:31 / 0 ft
bringing down my HR : 0.2 / 8:12 / 0 ft
cool down w/Corey : 1.6 / 8:45 / 0 ft

Su : shakeout w/Ben 3 / 8:17 / 75 ft

total miles : 31.9

My body was feeling a bit stiff and tired this week so I tried to take it easier/slower.  Figured it was probably time to take an easier week after how hard I've been running lately anyway.  Also I was planning to run as hard as I could at the race, so I thought it might be a good idea to give my legs a bit of a breather beforehand.  

Saturday's race was a 4 person half marathon relay.  Each leg was 3+ miles.  I was given the 3rd and longest leg, because I was the healthiest of the 4 of us.  4 teams handed off before my teammate handed off to me, but I caught the 4th place team after a mile or so, and no one passed me.  I took off like a rocket, and was impressed to see my first mile split at 6:07.  I wasn't delusional enough to think I could maintain that pace for almost 4 miles, but I did put in the same amount of effort for my whole run.  That effort just got me a slower pace with each mile that passed.  The course was very boring with long flat straight stretches, but my run was short enough that I was able to get through it before the flatness started messing with my mind.  

My leg started at 6.3 miles.  

I brought back the race braids for this race...they make me run faster...

4th place trophy.  We each got one, along with a finisher medal.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Evidence says I'm getting faster

My slowest run this week was a 7:43 pace...and we said we were going to run an 8:00 pace.  And it was today, and Sunday's are supposedly my easy/shakeout day.  Have I mentioned lately how excited I am to have running partners who are pushing me?!

This week : 
M : 6.2 / 7:35 / 390 ft
T : group 7 / 7:10 / 256 ft
R : group 9 / 7:36 / 554 ft
Sa : 5.1 / 7:21 / 292 ft
Su : 5.6 w/Ben / 7:43 / 243 ft

total miles : 32.9

Monday I wandered around til I knew I had at least 6 miles.  Tuesday I told the group I wouldn't mind running on the Creeper Trail as long as we made it a fast run, so we pushed the 7 miles.  Thursday Ben wanted 8 or 9, so I mapped out a loop for us and off we went.  A couple people pulled off the loop early because they weren't ready for the longer distance yet, but the remaining 4 of us stayed together until after 7 miles when the faster two started pulling ahead.  Ben and I finished the 9 together.  Saturday I enjoyed a nice hill push up to the top of South Holston Dam.  This morning Ben asked me to go for an easy 5 miler, so off we went.  We kept it mostly flat, but we ended up going a bit faster than easy.  

In other news, when I went to switch my orthotics from one pair of shoes to another before yesterday's run, I discovered that one of them was cracked the whole way through, almost the whole way across. Just bending it a little bit reveals a whole lot of daylight through the crack.  As upset as I was, they have lasted me faithfully for a year, which is about how long they are supposed to last.  And I can still wear them now, but it's only a matter of time before that crack grows big enough to snap the whole thing into two pieces.  I wore them yesterday, but today I went on my first run in 2 years without custom orthotics.  Thankfully, I had no tendonitis twinges.  I did wear the most supportive pair of shoes I have in my rotation right now (Mizuno Wave Enigma 5) and my newest pair of green Superfeet.  I am hopeful that my feet will be able to survive without the special support from the orthotics, but if not I will have to find someone here who will make me new ones. 

sidenote : Blogger doesn't recognize orthotic or tendonitis as words... It wants to change orthotic to orthodontic...and tendonitis to tendinitis.  Google says both are correct, but it makes more sense to me to spell it with the word tendon in it...

Also, check out this awesome rainbow I caught outside my front door on Friday!  The whole ROYGBIV was clearly visible and I could see the whole arch from end to end!  It was a gorgeous sight with the dark stormy sky and the bright colorful leaves and brilliant rainbow!  Of course the camera doesn't quite do it justice. 

 You can even see the rainbow in the tree if you look close

Saturday, October 22, 2016

South Holston Dam and Osceola Island 10/22/16

After a late night having fun with friends, I slept in this morning.  And then even once I woke up around 10:30, I still didn't get out of bed, because it was toasty warm under the covers and quite chilly outside them.  It went down into the 40s last night and I have not turned on my heat yet.  There is definitely a bit of heat rising up from the apartment below me, so I'm holding out as long as I can. At least until it's consistently cold outside, and not only cold at night.  So...I stayed in bed watching Netflix until noon before making myself get up for lunch.

After my lazy morning, I decided to make the most of a gorgeous (though chilly) afternoon, and head to South Holston Dam for a photo adventure and hill run.  I was there on Monday to take the 8th grade class portrait for my school, and the leaves were gorgeous then.  I figured I better get back as soon as I could to take photos for myself before the leaves fell!

I started out by taking photos from the top of the dam.  
You can see the wind in the water!

I then went to the other end of the dam where I was able to take a little path about halfway down to the water.  While there I decided to have a little fun with the tripod.  

Next, I drove back down below the dam to park at the Osceola Island parking lot for my run.  I ran from there up to the dam, across the dam, turned around and went back.  It turned out to be exactly 5 miles, which I ran pretty hard.  I loved pushing the winding hill up to the dam. 

After the run, I thought I would just head home for a hot shower, but decided I should spend more time taking photos instead, so I wandered across a little footbridge to Osceola Island and then walked the trail around the island.  I'm glad it was just barely warm enough out that I didn't get too cold after my run so that I was able to add the extra time outside!  I got some cool photos.  

I could hear a bird calling, but it took me awhile to locate it way up in the tree!  It was facing towards me at the time so the red head wasn't visible.  But I finally found it through my zoom lens.  And then I had to hold the camera ready and stare at it until it finally decided to fly. 

Just chilling, right below the weir dam. So cool!

A very fun, productive, and gorgeous afternoon!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wolf Pack Saturday Beer Run

This was quite the event!  The theme was "birthday party" and we were supposed to dress up as our favorite childhood toy or just dress up along the birthday theme, but I'm not a fan of costumes so I just wore running clothes.  If anyone asked I said I was "run and chug Barbie." We met at Wolf Hills around 1 PM, and then piled into a few cars to shuttle across town to Moon Dog Pizza, where we started with a beer.  Then the running began with a jog down the street to El Bigotes, where I chose to drink water.  That was followed by JJs sports bar where I had a Guinness, and then Luke's where I had water.  Then came the longest run of the event, which was about 1.1 miles to a park where we were divided into teams.  The main goal of the team competitions was not to come in last.  (Losers did shots at the next stop).

The first competition  involved a chalk circle on the ground, where you had to toss a penny and try to get points.  (middle of the circle was 5, mid circle was 4, outer circle was 2.  I got my team 4 points, and we ended up winning that round.  Next up was an egg in spoon relay race where we each had to walk/run to a specific point with the egg and then when all of us had gone, someone had to eat the egg.  We came in second place in that relay, less than a second behind first place.  The final competition was another relay, in which each leg of the relay had to do a specific movement.  I chose the second leg, which was "hop on one foot."  I made it the whole way down and back at quite a good pace, without ever losing my balance.  I was kind of impressed with that... We finished just barely second place again.

Then it was on to the Peppermill where I had a Guinness, and then Bonefire where I opted out of drinking, but did take part in the coloring contest.  A random customer was chosen to judge; I didn't win.  Next up was the Tavern, where I had  a Pilsner and we played pin the tail on the donkey.  I came in 2nd place.  We were supposed to stop at 128 Pecan next, but they were crowded and we didn't want to inconvenience them, so we headed on to Rain where I had a delicious Long Trail Porter.  Final stop was Wolf Hills where I had my favorite Zazzy's coffee ale and played a game of corn hole with some friends.

Unicorn runners?

Running partners!

Faster people have slowly been coming out of the woodwork to join the Wolf Pack run club on Tuesdays and Thursdays...we now have a great group of 6 or 7 people, and there's usually at least 3 of us on any given day.  This week there were 5 of us on Tuesday, and 4 of us on Thursday.  And then 3 of us ran together on Saturday morning so that we could have a real run before a big group beer run.  It has been a long time since I had running partners my speed or faster, so I am really excited about this new development!  We're hoping to start going to races together too, which will be awesome; race travel is so much more fun with a group!

Also, 2 of them are close to my I also have friends to hang out with on weekends now!

This week : 
T : Wolf Pack 7.6 / 7:45 / 417 ft
W : 6.4 / 7:26 / 476 ft
R: Wolf Pack 5.7 / 7:42 / 262 ft
Sa : 5.2 / 7:51 / 171 ft w/Tom and Corey
Beer Run 5.4 / 8:40 / 95 ft
Su : 4.3 / 7:23 / 190

total : 34.7 miles

Thankfully I've been able to talk the group into running roads and hills with me instead of the flat Creeper Trail, so that's just one more thing that has been making the group runs more enjoyable.  On Tuesday I took us to one of the longer hills that I really enjoy as a training hill...and we got chased by a dog halfway down.  We continued on down the hill, and then had to figure out what to do about the fact that we were on a dead end street but didn't want to run back past the dog.  I had heard there were two houses you could cut between to get to the Creeper Trail, but I had no idea which two houses they were.  We ran around trying to figure it out, then had to give up and brave the dog again.  Of course we got chased again...and I ended up PR-ing the hill by 13 seconds... Thankfully no one got bit, although it was a close call for one person.  I'm disappointed to have lost that hill now, the dog had never been loose before, but I'm not going to be taking a chance on it happening again while I'm alone. 

On Wednesday I did some hill not-quite-sprints spread throughout my run.  Normally with hill sprints I put in about 90-100% effort, I'd say I was closer to 80% for this run.  I was pushing hard, but not trying to go all out.  Felt good though.  

On Thursday Tom took the lead and we went on one of his loops from XC coaching.  It was a nice loop with a good long hill.  We got chased by dogs again, but they weren't too scary, and this time we had Corey the dog whisperer with us so it was no problem.  

On Saturday morning Tom took us on his other XC coaching loop, which was mostly flat.  That afternoon 22 Wolf Pack runners met to do a run across town, starting at Moon Dog Pizza, ending at Wolf Hills, and stopping at every beer-selling restaurant/bar along the way.  It took us about 5 hours to reach Wolf Hills.  

Today I had a nice shake out run.  I did a mostly flat loop, but there was one nice long hill in the middle which I pushed up at a nice pace.  My right hip had been bothering me all morning, but it felt fine on the run so I guess it's not really broken!  

I'm happy to have now completed 4 weeks in a row at 30 or more miles, and I'm feeling pretty good.  Maybe I'll be able to start getting above 35 consistently soon!  I'm also seeing my pace getting a bit faster without having to work harder, so I am very happy about that as well!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Back to Lewisburg for some longer runs

Hooray for being over 30 miles per week for the 3rd week in a row!  And...on Sunday I hit 1000 miles so far for the year!  After 2 injury-induced sub 1000 mile years, I'm super excited that I hit 1000 for this year and still have almost 3 months to get even more by the end of the year.

I'm also happy to have managed 3 long(er) runs this week.  At this point I think I'm calling anything 7 miles or more "long"  but hopefully soon 7-8 will be more the norm for most runs.  I wasn't sure how Tuesday's group run would go with the faster group since I hadn't taken any days off after my race, but it ended up going pretty well.  I talked the 2 guys that showed up into running roads instead of the  boring/flat Creeper Trail, and we ended up having a great run with quite a few unplanned hills.  I enjoyed them more than the guys did, but they certainly weren't easy.  Short, steep, and painful.  But I didn't mind, just because they were a break from the flat!

I was supposed to run on Wednesday, but really just didn't feel like it after work.  I had planned to take Thursday off to drive to Lewisburg after work, so after debating the run for awhile, I told myself I had to either run on Wednesday, or get up early to run Thursday morning.  I guess I really did need Wednesday off because I decided I'd rather get up early Thursday.  It was only about 50 degrees for my early morning run, but after going easy for the first 2 miles, I was able to pick up to a pretty nice pace for the second half.  My hands did get a bit numb from the cold, it looks like I'll have to break out the gloves soon...

On Friday morning in Lewisburg it was cold and rainy, but I was determined to get a longer run in.  I had originally hoped for something like 12+, but I scrapped that idea due to the weather.  I ended up running until my knee started to complain, which was around 8.5, and then I headed back to the house.  Sunday was even colder, but at least it was nice and sunny out, so I had another good run.

This week : 
M : 4.2 / 8:04 / 230 ft
T : 7.3 / 7:59 / 597 ft
R : 4 / 8:19 / 217 ft
F : 9.2 / 8:28 / 994 ft
Su : 8 / 7:52 / 502 ft
horse ride 1:28
total miles : 32.8

Here are some elevation profiles...just for fun. 




And now for some photos from the ride on Sunday and taking Franka to visit Pony today. 

Not only is Pony actually walking towards me in the field instead of running away, she is also mellow on rides now...I don't even need to hold the reins half the time.  I am loving my mellow Pony!  
Here we are walking along perfectly calmly.  No need to steer. 

Windblown but having a great time!

Feeding Pony a treat...I think she liked it?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A trail run and half marathon #27

This week : 
T : group run 7 / 7:44 / 292 ft
R : trail w/Glenn & Chuck 5.7 / 10:42 / 945 ft
Sa : warm up 1.6 / 7:16 / 46 ft
race 13.1 / 7:28 / 361 ft
Su : shake out 3 / 8:13 / 75 ft
total miles : 30.5

Tuesday's group run was great, a bunch of fast people showed up and we took off together on the Creeper Trail.  We started out the first mile pretty relaxed (8:12) so I started pushing the pace.  By the third mile, I was no longer the one pushing the pace, someone else was.  We turned around at 3.5, by which point I was ready to slow down rather than overdo it the week of a race.  2 people had already turned around earlier, and after the rest of us turned around, 3 of us chose to slow down and let the other two continue to pick up the pace.  I am looking forward to running this group more often, it will be a great help for my training!

I meant to run on Wednesday, but by the time I got home from work I just wasn't feeling it.  On Thursday, the middle school had a cross country meet at Sugar Hollow State Park, which is only about 5 minutes from our school.  I decided to run around the park in between school and the meet, and then watch my students run.  Turns out 2 other people from the running group were planning to run Sugar Hollow as well, so we met up and ran together.  I hadn't been on those trails yet, so it was nice to have people to follow!  It was cool and rainy so we got soaked in addition to having to deal with mud and wet leaves, but it was a fun time.  

I should have done a light run on Friday, but it was cool out all day and when I got home from work all I wanted to do was crawl under a blanket on the couch to keep warm.  I never did manage to talk myself into going out for a run.  

Saturday's race report can be found here.

Today I went out for a light jog to try and work out some of the soreness in my calf from running on sideways slanted roads in yesterdays' race. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Crooked River 1/2

A 3:00 start time meant I got to sleep in this morning, and leave home shortly after 1.   A 45 minute drive brought me to this beautiful location in a valley surrounded by mountains.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, thankfully having warmed up to the mid 70s.  Yesterday was so cool, and the nights have been so cool, I've been huddled under blankets on the couch when I'm at home.  (I'm so not ready to turn on the heat yet...)

obligatory pre-race selfie

I ran a 1.6 mile warm-up around 2:20, then still had time to wait around for the race to start.  One guy asked me if I would share my magic inhaler with him.  Someone else asked permission to grab onto the back of my shirt so I could pull him through the race.  

Despite my best intentions to start slow and then speed up if I felt good, of course I let myself get carried away by the front runners.  At least they were only running about a 6:50 pace, so I didn't completely fly through the first mile.  (but I should have done it a little slower than 7 min/mile).  The first mile felt like a breeze, as usual, but then I rapidly started feeling like I actually had to work, and my times went down.  I stopped letting myself look at my splits after the 4th mile, because I really shouldn't be looking at my watch during a race anyway.  Somewhere around the 4th mile marker, I was passed by a teenager.  She was looking strong, and I let her go.  She rapidly built up a lead, although I never completely lost sight of her.  I got a second wind in the 6th or 7th mile and was able to start picking up my pace again.  I slowly reeled in the girl ahead of me, and passed her on the only decent hill in the race, coming up on the 8th mile marker.  Looking at my splits now, I can see that I still didn't have a spectacular pace, but I was at least pushing myself.  I kept pushing til the end, though it got progressively harder.  The finish of the race involved running up the gravel drive to the lodge, which was a rather steep hill, and the gravel was really loose.  It was not fun trying to finish strong with my feet sliding backwards downhill with each step! I finished in 1:38:15, 4th place overall and 1st place female. 

I really wasn't in great shape to push a half marathon, and I knew that.  I signed up for this race in an attempt to do a better job of training for the half I have in Roanoke in November, which I did really well in 2 years ago, the last time I ran it.  

I bonked really hard after this race.  I've been trying to alter my diet over the last week or so, and it clearly did not help my running performance over this distance.  I've been decreasing my bread/pasta/beer consumption, and increasing my vegetable consumption.  This may not be a completely bad plan, but I'm pretty sure I also need to be more careful about getting enough protein, and if it is going to work at all, obviously I need a lot more time for my body to adjust and learn to fuel itself on less carbs.  I should probably try to add the pasta back without cutting back on the veggies.  

the Lodge at Crooked River Farm

Western sky at sunset

Eastern sky at sunset

Post-race recovery back at home, along with my winnings.
I was craving salt, so I made some bacon-cheesy-garlic-ranch fries.
And I had some whiskey in my brand new whiskey glass.