Scenes from the Runs

Ok, that title sounds kind of gross. I’m too beat to come up with a better one.

Here’s a little aside: you know you’re obsessed with running when you start critiquing the form of actors running in film. We went to see the latest Mad Max last night, and Tom Hardy does not appear to be a runner. Not that he doesn’t try for pure physicality. The man is a sexy beast.

The past week was a lot of getting outdoors. Next week looks to be fraught with possible thunderstorms. I’m hoping the forecast will ease up at least a few days. I am grateful that I had such nice weather while traveling and yesterday couldn’t have been nicer.

Today seemed kind of pollen-y and kind of warm for a 14-miler. I was also ridiculously thirsty. It was just about 80 degrees, and I’ve run in worse, but my body felt a bit in shock.

The first four pics are from my run on Thursday in Iowa. The rest are photos from my usual training park.

John Deere

 
    


  

          

Have Sneakers, Will Travel

Hello from Iowa!

My husband and I made a last minute trip to Chicago last night and then drove to Iowa this morning. We fly home from Chicago tomorrow. 

  Last night we went to a Peruvian restaurant called Tanta that was outstanding. We ordered a bazillion things off the menu because we couldn’t choose just a couple. One bonus to neither of us drinking is that the money can go to more food. (Lol, like that stopped us before.)

I have no food pictures because I was too busy eating it. 

This morning I got up to do a 6+ mile run in the city. It’s cool here, mid-40s, so it was perfect running weather. 

  I ran a 10k last Sunday, and despite being 2nd in my age group and the 8th female out of 180, I was disappointed with my time. Everyone’s times were slower this year, including the top 2 men and top female (slower by 2-4 minutes), all of whom won/placed last year. I think it was the 20 degree higher temps that did it, but frankly I’m not certain. I ran the 10k at the same pace as my half marathon the week before. My coach thinks it is mostly cumulative fatigue. I’m so busy trying not to be angry at myself, but she’s probably right. 

My legs are kind of sore still three days later, so I can’t say I didn’t give it my all for what I had in me that day. I’m not usually sore after races. 

 

This was not a dessert or bread plate

Tomorrow I will do an easy run in this small Iowa town. It’s a nice change of scene. Plus, I need to exercise in order to burn off the giant piece of chocolate cherry cake my husband’s aunt fed me after dinner. She literally gives me about a quarter of the pan every time (and my husband’s grandmother makes it especially for me). I don’t know why I get so lucky, but I’ll take the biggest piece without complaint ;) .

Half Marathon Plans — plea for race recommendations

A couple pictures from the Maine Coast half. There were photographers on the course, but I don’t think they’ve been posted yet. So what I’ve got are the pictures my husband snapped at the start and finish. I love my YMX by Yellowman shirt of a phoenix, and it paired well with my Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra running skirt.


Here’s a picture from the GOTR 5k on Sunday. I’m only posting a picture from a distance because I don’t think I should post identifiable photos of minors that aren’t my children. The GOTR people are in the bright green shirts. The girls were so inspiring and adorable. I’m really proud of my running buddy.


I signed up for my December half marathon! I chose the Kiawah Island half, which is about a 50 minute drive from Charleston, SC. I’ve been to Charleston twice before, both times in my mid-20s. I’m excited to go back, especially to run. I think we’re going to stay in Charleston rather than on the Island as neither my husband nor I golf.

I’m looking for a few more races to fill out my 1-half-a-month for 2015 calendar. I don’t have one for October or November yet. Since my full marathon is the first weekend in October, I need a race that is late in the month. We do have the Mohawk Hudson here, but it’s the weekend after my full and I think even run/walking it would be a bad idea. I’m thinking about doing the RnR Philly, since that’s October 31. The only downside, which isn’t really one, is that I’ve done that race before. I did enjoy it, even if I was slightly injured.

For November, I wish I had signed up to run the Space Coast Half since I have a friend who is running the full that day (her first!) and my husband and I are going to support her. But the half is sold out. :(

Anyone have suggestions for races in October & November? Any good halfs in August? The one I was thinking of doing falls on a weekend that isn’t looking like it will work out (the 15th), so I have a couple ideas but nothing solid yet.

Maine Coast Half Marathon: 1:47:59

I signed up for the Maine Coast Half back in March, but ended up on the wait list. The first week of April, I got in, so my husband and I planned a mini trip to Portsmouth, NH. My husband managed to fit in a few business meetings and I roamed around the city. We’ve been before and love the quintessential New England town with a fantastic restaurant scene. The other two times I’ve visited were to attend author presentations by  Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. Sue Monk Kidd was in town last night, but I wanted to get back to the hotel for an early bedtime.    

       

popover stuffed with scrambled eggs

   

Runner’s Alley

    
Then I ran the race this morning, again as a training run with no taper and covering up my GPS watch. I’m not thrilled with my splits. I could feel that I took the first several miles too fast but my legs didn’t seem to know how to chill out. I’ll have to be more careful of that in the future. I didn’t run out of gas, but it did take a toll and made miles nine and ten less than what I’d have liked. Hopefully I’ll be able to hold sub-8 minute miles for a half before the end of the year (and with a proper taper and not coming off a 55 mile week), but I’m not there yet. 

At any rate, I took almost 2 minutes off the PR from two weeks ago (on a hillier course. Today’s was more rollers) with a 1:47:59 (average pace 8:14/mile), which was good enough for 6th in my age group. The race is still ongoing as I type this, so I’m not sure of the overall participant numbers, but over 1200 were registered for the event, including 2 person relay teams. I came in as #154 overall. Like I said, I didn’t feel as strong as I’d have liked over the last half, but I can’t complain about my overall time. 

Oh, and the important stuff: did you know Lululemon Outlet stores exist? We went to one in Kittery yesterday, but despite having a lot of inventory, they didn’t have anything I wanted in my size. 😟

Girls on the Run

 

Sign for the girls (not made by me; I’m lame. plus my handwriting sucks)

 Yesterday I got to meet my latest running buddy with Girls on the Run. This girl is going to be a heartbreaker! I just love chatting with these girls while we do laps around the school. I learned a lot about my buddy, and it’s adorable how excited they are to share about themselves. My buddy is in sixth grade, and she seemed to have so much joy in her. 

One thing that struck me as I pulled up to the school for our practice 5k was that most of these girls’ parents can’t make it to see their daughters run. There is another school in our program that is in a fairly well-to-do neighboring town and most of those girls’ running buddies were family members, probably because they didn’t have jobs that they were unable to take time off from in order to be at the practice runs. The disparity in economic status just within a few miles is striking. 

I also was angered by a couple women volunteering at my school who cancelled at the last minute, leaving their running buddy without a mentor. I could be wrong, but I suspect it wasn’t some sort of emergency, and to me, nothing less than that is a good enough excuse to bail on a young girl during this important time in her life. Many of these girls end up being marginalized, and GOTR is an opportunity for them to feel empowered and like outsiders care about them. I dunno. It just pissed me off that some people thought it was ok to leave them hanging. When you commit to GOTR, the least you can do is make it to the events that we knew about well in advance. 

Sorry/not sorry for the rant. 

Our official GOTR 5k race is on Mother’s Day, and when I asked my running buddy if any of her family would be there, she said probably not. I’m very honored to be able to participate with her. I told her that race is all about her and I was just there to enjoy it with her. 

New Half Marathon PR 1:49:55

  So. This thing with not looking at the GPS watch is working for me. As is doing the things that scare me. 

I ran a hilly half marathon today in Lake George, NY. The race’s website even called the course “challenging”, with two long climbs and then some rolling hills throughout. I drove it yesterday after bib pickup and was having some second thoughts about running it. But my plan was to do this as a training run, not race, and save my next PR attempt for a more forgiving course in two weeks. 

The weather was awesome, mid-40s and overcast with little wind. I wore throw away arm warmers and a tank top. I really wanted the arm warmers to cover up my watch so I wouldn’t be tempted to peek at it. 

I used the first few miles as a warm up and let people pass. I knew the first big hill started in mile 2. I think only one person passed me for good from that point on. For the next bunch of miles, I just tucked in behind a couple gals running at a pace I felt comfortable with and we traded positions a couple times. One was rather hilariously singing along to her music. Badly. She entertained me for about 8+ miles. 

This was a smaller race (it was a victim of previous years mismanagement by the now defunct Reinke Sports Group, which is now subject to lawsuits nationwide from what I can tell via Google), with an out and back along Lake George. The route was really pretty. I was surprised when it was around mile six before I saw the leaders pass the other direction. The turnaround was just past mile seven. While the course was challenging, I think the field was slower than previous years due to the bad races by Reinke. Still, I was excited to see that not that many women were ahead of me. 

it still looks like winter. seriously, there are still no leaf buds on the trees

We had a couple good climbs on the return, and I think those may have worn out the people I was shadowing. By mile 11, I passed about 5 people. I felt really strong and knew it was mostly downhill to the finish, so I hit the gas a little. Some guy, one I hadn’t noticed so he came from behind, flew by me (awesome kick, dude!). But basically I was alone the last two miles. 

The course ran through town, then we had to take a hard right then hard left up a crushed stone path that was at an incline. Not terrible, but it’s always one of those things that’s tough mentally at the end of a race. I couldn’t see the timing clock until I had maybe 100 meters to go and was shocked to see it was at 1:49:4x. My previous PR was an even 1:53 on a flatflatflat course in New Orleans in January this year, but my goal had been sub-1:50. When I noticed the time, I exclaimed aloud, “Holy shit, are you kidding?” And then I floored it and crossed the finish at 1:49:55. 

 

pint glass AG prize

Splits: 8:27, 8:24, 8:42 (hill), 8:51 (hill), 8:29, 8:40 (small hill), 8:35, 8:32, 8:25, 8:43 (hill), 8:20 (hill) 8:03, 7:49 (these are slightly off because my garmin went a little haywire during the second half so some of these paces were actually a bit faster but who knows how much in each mile. Can’t quite count on the Garmin 100%, so it’s good I’m relying less on it during runs).

Shout out to 3C Race Productions for putting on a great event. I’d been worried about the shoulder being a little narrow, especially around blind curves, but they had the entire route marked with cones and gave us reasonable space (although if it had been a larger race, passing would’ve been tough) and I felt safe. I ran without music/audiobook, and I was really glad I did because we ran with rather than against traffic. 

I knew it was my head that’s been holding me back, but I still have to say I’m stunned I PR’d by so much on that course. My goals going into this were to get in hill practice (both up and down), not hurt myself and not walk. The back-of-my-mind goal was to sub-2 hour it, but I really didn’t expect to. It’s a good thing I didn’t look at my watch and psyche myself out because I know I would’ve freaked if I’d known my pace. 

I was 5th female and took second in the 40-49 age group and got a cool pint glass.

Not a bad training run. I got out of my own way. 😎

Fearless 

I’ve been thinking about the word fearless for awhile now. As I read race recaps of people who ran Boston this week, including those who PR’d despite rough weather, I wondered how I could be more fearless in my life. 

Because, frankly, I have a lot of fears.

Most of these fears are sublimated and relate to fear of failure. It’s not like I sit around shaking in my boots, more like an excess of being conservative. In my training, I’ve had to convince myself not to take the easier pace when approaching a tough interval workout. I tell myself to go for the harder pace and if it’s too hard THEN I can dial it back. About 98% of the time, I find that I can do the harder pace just fine. But before I allowed the doubts that I could hit those paces dictate the workout. 

I suffer from a bit of an inferiority complex (I suspect most people do, so I’m no special snowflake in this regard), and the thing I keep repeating lately is, “why not me?” It’s a shift in perspective, a tiny one, but I need to acknowledge that with all the work I’ve put it, I too deserve to do well. I’ve watched people blossom in their running and felt envy that I wasn’t progressing like I wanted. I missed my Boston qualifier goal last year, and it made me feel less than charitable, which really has nothing to do with the runners I envy but rather disappointment in myself. 

I’ve mentioned that I get “tall poppy syndrome” in part due to my upbringing, and it often leads to massive negative self-talk that sabotages my performance. One way I’ve mitigated it is by running by feel. It’s a lot harder to doubt myself if I don’t know what pace I’m running and it just feels right. I haven’t decided if I am going to run all my races Garmin-blind this year, but I might. It’s kind of a risk when I get to the Wineglass Marathon for my BQ attempt, but if it continues to work through this training cycle, it might be the way to go. 
 

How could I not stop with this view?

 On Sunday, I did an 11 mile run in my favorite park. My speed workouts during the week have been tough, and I gave myself permission to just enjoy my long run in the gorgeous weather. I wore a spanking new shirt from Inknburn that made me feel like a rock star and I had the last 90 minutes of my audiobook, “The Kind Worth Killing” to keep me company. I had to briefly stop to cross streets in traffic a few times and I stopped once when I was struck by a view in the park and had to take a photo, but otherwise ran without breaks. 

  

Maybe its the fierce shirt that made me run faster

After I was done, I checked my splits. 9:20, 8:55, 8:49, 8:47, 8:49, 8:30, 8:23, 8:40 (hill), 8:24, 8:21, 8:21. If I’d been running a half marathon and kept it up, I would’ve probably met or beat my PR. But running at what felt like an easy pace and even effort. 

 The moral of the story is: I need to get out of my own way.  

I don’t know that any of this is leading me towards being “fearless,” but I like to think that if I am not quite unafraid, I am making progress despite the fear. 

 

I must be fearless to go out in public with this hair