Sunday, January 29, 2017

Marathon #3, here I come.

Another awesome mileage-filled week!  I am feeling really good about the likelihood of running the Hatfield McCoy marathon in June!  The next price-hike is in April, so I'm not signing up until then.  I would like to be marathon-ready before I sign up so that there is little chance of repeating the out-of-shape fiasco that was my second marathon.

This week : 
M : 8.7 / 7:37 / 417 ft
W : 7.3 / 7:45 / 427 ft
R : group 10.5 / 8:06 / 538 ft
(5.6 with 5:00 group, 4.9 with 6:00 group)
Su : 18.1 / 7:57 / 958 ft 
(14.5 w/Ben)
total miles : 44.6

Despite my long run last Sunday, I felt good on Monday and ran some solid miles, with a good hill push in the middle.  I was due for a day off on Tuesday, which was well-timed, as I wanted to watch my school's middle school basketball game that evening.  

Wednesday is my late day at school, and it's generally hard to drag myself out for a run afterwards, especially since it's impossible to finish a long run in daylight at this time of year, but once I got out the door I felt pretty good, and incorporated several short steep hill climbs into my run.  

I had hoped to start running as soon as I got home on Thursday and get as many miles as possible, but I was dragging during the day and decided it was better to wait til Sunday for my long run.  I still wanted to get at least 10, so I decided the best plan was to run with the 5:00 group and then continue with the 6:00 group.  It worked out pretty well; we hit the parking lot right around 5:55 and Amanda was there and ready, so I was able to keep running without stopping.  She and I ran a mile loop around the neighborhood and came back through the parking lot to pick up Corey, and then the 3 of us ran together.  Amanda got the easy 5 she wanted, and I got the easy 10+ I wanted.  

Temps were in the 30s, after being close to 70 the day before...
So hard to warm up after the run. 

I took my well-deserved 2 days off after that, resting up for today's long run.  I had a 15 mile loop mapped out, but knew I would add on after the loop unless I was completely depleted.  The plan was for 3 of us to run together, but 1 had to back out.  Thankfully Ben was still able to join me, as I'm not sure I would have faced this loop alone right now.  We headed out in thick, wet, snow flurries at a nice easy pace.  Our route was gently rolling hills until about 10.5 miles in when we had the steeper hill climb up Whites Mill Rd.  We reached the top around 13 miles, and I was feeling strong, so at that point I knew I would run at least 16.  Ben headed off when I was around 14.5 miles in, as he was a mile ahead of me from starting at his home instead of mine, and he didn't need the miles I was going for.  As I continued on alone, I ticked off some more miles, and new I could make it to 18.  The last time I ran 18 was 11 months ago, and later that day I went hiking, sprained my ankle pretty badly, and stopped trying to do long runs.  I am determined not to repeat that fiasco this time!  

Facing the long climb up Whites Mill. 
It gets steeper the closer you get to the top.

10.5 miles in and facing the toughest hill climb of the day but still smiling!

The snow has turned to freezing rain but I just finished 18.1 miles and I feel GREAT!

My next race is 2 weeks from today, the 10 mile Blacksburg Classic.  I'm going to suspend my 7 mile minimum mileage rule at some point between now and then to make sure I'm rested enough to race well, but I haven't yet decided when I will suspend it.  Could be tomorrow, could be next Monday...we will see.  So far I've run this race 3 times and finished a minute slower each time, so I definitely want to reverse that trend this year!  I do plan to get my weekly mileage back down around 30 for the next two weeks, and then start bringing it back up afterwards.  After the Blacksburg Classic I hope to really focus on training for the Blue Ridge 1/2.  It is time for a course PR in this race, and to either win or be a lot closer to the first place winner than I have been over the last few years!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fewer runs, more mileage

Trying to get back to a running schedule that involves fewer runs, but longer runs.  I'd rather take more days off and have no run be under 7 or 8 miles, than run every day and end up with a bunch of 3-4 milers.  I have accomplished this before...let's see if I can get back to it.  Maybe I'll even manage to start getting back on the bike on some of my off days for the cross training.

This week : 
T : group run 7.2 / 8:28 / 381 ft
W : run 8.8 (3 w/Amanda) / 7:45 / 518 ft 
R : group run 7.4 / 8:03 / 348 ft
Su : trail run w/Mollie 11.8 / 9:14 / 1237 ft
total miles : 35.2

Today's trail run was a 5.5 mile loop around the lake at Hungry Mother State Park.  We stuck together on the first loop.  At the end of the loop, we decided to turn around and run it backwards, instead of going the same direction twice.  On the second loop, I did some out & backs to stretch my legs.  I pushed about 1/2 a mile the first time before turning around to re-join Mollie, and I pushed for about a mile the second time.  There were also a few spots where I looped around a parking lot until she caught up.  It can be hard for me to run slower sometimes, but I have found that a slower long run greatly reduces my need for recovery time afterwards.  Besides, it's nice to pay it forward and help people get faster, as I have been helped by others over the years.  

My legs were pretty sore from last weekend's race, so I ended up spending quality time with the foam roller this week.  The pain on the roller is intense, but it definitely helps a lot!  

Oh yay, rolling out my quads can double as an ab-strengthening exercise!

And was warm enough to run in shorts!
At least until it started raining...and then I was 5.5 miles in so I had to just keep going. 

Hungry Mother Park was pretty, but I was too cold to really take any photos after the run...took this from inside my car with the heat blasting. I'll definitely go back with my cameras at some point.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January race week!

72 miles down so far for 2017, and my first race of the year in the books!

This week : 
T : group run 6.2 / 8:09 / 420 ft
W : 2.3 / 6:29 / 121 ft
R : 4.6 / 7:23 / 295 ft
Sa : warm up 1 / 7:47 / 75 ft
Race 13.1 / 7:31 / 1516 ft
Su : shakeout with Ben 3.1 / 7:50 / 128 ft
total miles : 30.3

Tuesday I ran with the early group.  I didn't feel like waiting til dark to run when I could run in the daylight, and also I knew they would be slower than the group I run with at 6 and I was trying to take it easy leading up to the race.  

Wednesday I got home late from work after faculty meeting, but it was still about 60 degrees out, and I was itching to run.  I only had a little bit of time to squeeze in a run before a friend came over for dinner, so I gave in to the itch and ran short and fast.  Flying is fun!  

Thursday I ran from school because I stayed to watch the middle school basketball game at 6.  Had to run along the main road cause the neighborhood right next to the school wasn't big enough for a decent run.  I had sidewalk for the first mile, then had a big enough shoulder for the second mile.  I did two miles out and back, and then ran the hill in the neighborhood next to the school.  

Today's shakeout hurt with all my sore muscles and the hip pain, but I think it did help in the end.  Hence why it's called a shakeout...  I'm off work tomorrow so I'm going to want to run...but I will attempt not to as I'm sure I need a rest day.  No promises though. 

Sandman Extreme Half Marathon

Half marathon #29, and the first race of 2017 is in the books!  I had vague memories of how tough this race was from when I ran it in 2014, but time definitely softened the difficulty in my mind.  I had completely forgotten that this race was actually harder than the Blue Ridge!  Check out the elevation profile!  I didn't mind the 4 mile uphill climb so much (although I won't say it was the easiest either) but going back down the other side was brutal!  The first two miles of downhill were on gravel, and that was manageable, but my hip started hurting almost as soon as I hit the pavement, and that part was steeper too.  My hip has barely stopped hurting since, but I think the shake out jog, stretching, and foam rolling I did today helped tremendously.

Like my last race, I ran this one with my watch hidden in my sleeve.  I felt like I was crawling for the first mile, but since it was downhill I knew it would be easy to go too fast and ruin the rest of the race, so I made myself stick to the slow-feeling pace.  Of course it turned out to be sub-7 pace, but that's the downhill for you.  I waited til I hit the uphill, and then I kicked into gear.  I was afraid to push too hard on that uphill and not have anything left for the rest of the race, but in hindsight I wish I had pushed a little bit harder.  I'll have a better idea of strategy for next year though!  

I let go as much as I could on the downhills to make up time from the uphill, but when I did encounter flats or uphills after the long downhill, I found it really hard to get back into a rhythm after relying on momentum for so many miles.  I was pleased to see that my splits didn't get too terribly slow by the end though.  At least, not as slow as they felt!  I crossed the line at 12.85 by my watch, so I kept running around the block until I hit 13.1.  They clocked me at 1:37:18 at the line, and I finished the 13.1 in 1:38:27. My finish time was slower than I had hoped, but it was a tough race in unpleasant weather.  35ish degrees, foggy, and intermittent light rain.  And my sore legs say I ran hard even if it was a bit slow!  

Only 270 miles on the old pair but almost no tread left, and I could feel that they were wearing out so it was time for a new pair before the old pair could injure me!  Nice to race in a brand-new pair!

New race hairstyle for the hair since it's too short to braid now...double pony-tales!

Somebody caught this photo of me running up a hill during the race.

Finisher medal along with 1st place winnings : mug, headband, and bag.
I finished first place female and 5th place overall, about 4.5 minutes behind 4th place, which was my running partner Ben.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Long Run and lots of internet issues

I'm so glad to now be in an apartment that is cigarette-smoke free...but the issues I've been having with Comcast since the move have been ridiculous.  The first day they were supposed to send a tech to set up my cable/internet, he never showed up.  I spent all day calling every few hours and being told to "just keep waiting" even though he was supposed to arrive by 10 AM.  I can't be home during the week, so I had to reschedule for this past Saturday.  It snowed Friday night and was bitterly cold, so it was icy.  They changed my time from 8-10, to 8-8.  And then around noon cancelled because of the "weather" even though the roads had been cleared and nothing was falling through the sky.  I got access to a wifi hotspot, and thought I would be fine.  Then my old account was cancelled, and I lost my access because I can't access the hotspot through my new account until a tech shows up.  I lost access while I was sleeping Saturday night.  No-one yesterday managed to fix my problem.  I was at work all day today.  First person I got when I called today had no idea what she was doing, but pretended she was going to have someone else call me back.  I ate dinner and then called again.  And got someone smart enough to set me up a new username and password that will work.  So I'm back online...and hoping it lasts.  But not holding my breath.  I have a race this coming Saturday, so I can't get a tech out here til the's gonna be a long 2 weeks if I can't keep access to this hotspot!

Last week : 
M : 5.5 / 7:27 / 354 ft
T : Wolf Pack 3.5 / 7:52 / 131 ft
R : 14.5 / 7:57 / 892 ft
Sa : 4.7/ 8:09 / 226
Su : run w/Ben 3.1 / 7:41 /118 ft
total miles : 31.3

Monday was supposed to be an easy day, but I found a new hill I wanted to run...and in the process of getting there somehow I started running fast and then I pushed the hill just a not an easy day.  

Tuesday I again wanted to go easy, but got carried by the group.  I did cut it off short though and let Ben go on and get 6 miles without me.  Wednesday I finally took a day off, which I needed since I had run 10+ on Sunday and then run hard again on Monday.  

Thursday I decided not to wait til 6 to run with the group, and started around 4:45.  I wasn't sure how many miles I would do, I was vaguely hoping for something over 10.  I figured if I still had energy around 6 I would run through the parking lot and run a few more with the group.  I got there right around 6, at just under 10 miles.  I hit 10 while running circles around the parking lot waiting for everyone to get ready.  Then they told me they were running the creeper trail.  I wanted to keep running, but I was getting tired, and knew I was dragging my feet to much to run on the trail with all its rocks and roots.  Last thing I wanted to do was fall on my face.  Also, I don't have a headlamp, and I suspected I was too tired to keep up with the group, but also I couldn't fall behind without a light.  So, I ran 3/4 mile to the trail with the group, then broke off and continued my long solo run.  Somehow I made it all the way to 14.5.  It was long, cold, and lonely out there with no music or partner, but it was a great run and I'm glad I was able to do it.  

I took my much deserved day off on Friday, and then Saturday I shoveled myself a path to the road and went for a jog in the snow.  It was about 10 degrees out, so at least I could run through the snow without getting my feet wet...

Sunday it was about 7 degrees out for Ben & I's jog.  Froze my face off, but the rest of me was fine.  

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Year in Review

My goal for 2016 was to get 1300 miles.  Twice over the course of the year I was 30+ miles ahead of the goal.  And at least once I was about 30 miles behind it.  This year was a lot healthier for me than the past two, but it still wasn't injury free.  I think the bad ankle sprain in February was the worst that happened though.  Foot pain after my last half marathon had me cut back miles when I was over 30 ahead, but at least I managed not to ever fall behind.  I finished up the year with 1311 miles.  Would have been higher if I hadn't lost the last day of the year stuck at home waiting for a cable guy who never showed, but apparently a run was just not meant to happen that day.

2016 run stats

2016 vs 2015
380.3 more miles 
53 more hours
17,024 more feet of elevation gain
79 more runs

2016 race stats
11 races, 4 were half marathons

2016 bike stats

2016 vs 2015
1648.3 fewer miles
101 fewer hours
154,495 fewer feet of elevation gain
68 fewer rides

...clearly biking was not my first priority this year...because I was able to run all year without having to take any breaks more than a couple of weeks long!

Overall I'm pretty happy with my year.  Still haven't quite gotten back to where I was in 2013 but I am getting closer.  I definitely feel a lot stronger than I have in a long time, and am looking forward to an even better 2017!  I've upped the mileage goal for this year to 1500, and I'm off to a great start with 10.5 on January 1!

Old year, New year

Said goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 by getting back over 30 weekly miles after a 6 week hiatus!  Ended up with two (!) unplanned 10 milers this week.

This week : 
M : run 3.3 / 7:07 / 151 ft
T : Wolf Pack 5.3 / 7:26 / 361 ft
W : long run w/Mollie 10 / 8:54 / 384 ft
R : Wolf Pack 4.2 / 7:29 / 197 ft
Su : long run 10.5 / 7:52 / 820
total miles : 33.3

I got home from Lewisburg on Monday and didn't really feel like running, but it was nearly 70 degrees out and I couldn't spend such lovely weather cooped in my nasty cigarette-smoke filled apartment, so I went for a run.  Went short and fast.  Tuesday my legs were feeling tired, but I did the group run with Corey and Ben.  Between the heavy legs and my stomach mad at me for not eating healthy enough during the day, it was hard to keep up, but I stuck with them.  On Wednesday, Mollie wanted to go for a run on the Creeper Trail, and I figured it would be an easy 4 or 5 miler.  I showed up at the trail, and she said  "how about 10 miles?"  I was due for a ten miler, so I figured I may as well go for it.  Not a fan of so many miles on a flat trail, but it wasn't so bad doing it with someone.  Though thankfully, she now agrees that long runs should not be done on the trail, so I shouldn't have to do that again.  On Thursday Corey, Ben, and I decided to run earlier in the day rather than wait til night.  I then spent the rest of Thursday and all of Friday moving into a new apartment.  I'm very happy to now be in a place with clean air!  I meant to do one last run for the year on Saturday, but spent all day waiting for Comcast to show up and install my cable/internet.  They were supposed to come at 8.  I called at various times throughout the day and talked to about 6 different people.  The first few told me to just keep waiting.  It was mid-afternoon before I got to talk to someone who actually tried to help me, although his plan apparently didn't succeed, because I had to call again around 4:30, at which point I was transferred to the supervisor, who said it was too late and I'd have to reschedule.  I was less than thrilled that I spent the whole day stuck inside waiting for someone who was never going to come, but on the bright side I got the whole apartment set up!  

Today I was tired and sore from all the moving, but I already took my 2 days off this week, and wanted to get started on my 2017 miles, so I figured I would do an easy 4 miles.  2 miles in, I was feeling pretty good so I convinced myself to go further.  And then I ended up with 10.5 miles.  I didn't look at my watch during the run, I just kept running.  I was counting the mile beeps from my watch, but didn't hear them all.  So when I was a little over a mile from home and thought I had 8+ I checked my watch to decide what I needed to do to get 10.  Turned out I was at 9.2, so I just ran straight home from there.  Great run to kick off 2017!