You know you’re old enough when the trends come back around 

So I had a really great easy run in the park today. It was about 77 degrees, 43% humidity and overcast for the second half. 

Towards the end, I could hear a sound check being performed in the park’s amphitheater and it sounded kind of interesting, so after my run, I googled the concert schedule. It was 5 Seconds Of Summer (not to be confused with 30 Seconds to Mars), which I only knew about from an appearance they did on the Today Show once when I was in the Y locker room. My impression was that they were a better than average boy band who played their own instruments. 

I decided to take my Ucan post-run drink over to the amphitheater gates and see if I could hear some more, and there was a small gaggle of young women (probably late teens?) with flannel shirts and black and blue dyed hair hanging around. The music I heard wasn’t bad, and I went to iTunes to sample some more. The band reminds me of a cross between LFO, Blink 152 and a number of other mid-to-late 90s groups. The kids were dressed sort of grunge/punk. It struck me as funny, that as old as I am, things felt like they haven’t changed that much. 

Runners Everywhere

A friend of mine spotted this boat when she was out fishing and sent a picture to me (you may need to zoom in to read it):

  
My butt was truly kicked in Friday with that tough run (followed by about 4 hours of walking), so I shouldn’t be surprised that my mid-afternoon 20 mile run was a tough slog in the 85 degree heat. My legs were just beat. At least my stomach wasn’t bothering me. But I was also slower than last week. 

I’ve got only 6 weeks until my race, so these next few weeks will be pretty tough. I’m really hoping the temperatures will start going down, although anything is possible for race day.  

Quick Trip to Portsmouth & a Butt-kicking Run

I’m so freaking sick of heat and humidity. 

This week, I’ve wimped out on outdoor runs due to icky weather. I’m hoping I’ll get to do my 20-miler tomorrow outdoors. As much as I’m enjoying rewatching Game of Thrones while on the treadmill (got an inexplicable crush on The Hound, lol), I feel like I’m cheating myself out of solid road runs. 

 

Hot Stone Tuna — you sear the tuna on the granite yourself

 Thursday my husband and I took an overnight trip to Portsmouth, NH because he had a work thing and I tagged along. It was less warm there but humid as hell. We hadn’t made dinner reservations, but we were able to get squeezed in at a place called Surf because we were willing to eat outside. I got the Hot Stone Tuna and the Flax & Quinoa Crusted Halibut. Here was our view:

 

Thats what you call 100% humidity

 The food was pretty great, so the spastic hairdo from the humidity was worth it. I’m always thrilled to get fresh fish. 

Friday morning it was raining, so I did my workout on the hotel treadmill. I was pretty intimidated when my coach sent me this one. 

20 minute warm up, 5k tempo, 4 minute jog, 8×75 second hill repeats (6-10% incline) at 5k or faster pace, 20 minute cool down. 

I pushed a little too hard on the tempo and ended up taking longer than a 4 minute jog. I also did the lower end of the incline. In other words: wuss. 

 

I goofed up hitting lap on one of the hill repeats :P

 
  I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much after a run. It was disgusting. I dripped all over the hotel lobby and in the elevator car. Ew. 

After showering and a scrambled egg stuffed popover at Popovers, I mosied over to the Strawbery Banke Museum, which is a historic village that showcases the homes and lifestyles of 400 years in the area. I spent about 2 hours wandering through the homes and talking to the museum guides and roll players. If you like places like Plymouth Plantation, Sturbridge Village or Williamsburg, you’ll likely enjoy this exhibit. It was really interesting to see how the area evolved over time. 

   
    
    
    
    
   

I wandered around Portsmouth after my Museum visit and bought my husband a Christmas gift at one of the many lovely shops in town. My feet were pretty beat by the time 5:00 rolled around, so I just hung out for a half hour in the hotel lobby with a cup of coffee. 

We had planned on heading home when my husband was done with work, but we were invited out to dinner, so we went to Brazo for a fantastic Latin/Spanish meal. I had the Fried Green Tomato Napoleon (stuffed with crab and avocado) and the Pumpkin Seed & Poblano Salmon with grilled asparagus and lobster-crab croquettes. It would be dangerous for us to live near Portsmouth for sure — I’d never cook at home again. 

The ride home was a little rough (got in after 2am with several rest stop naps — we’re so old), and I’m awfully glad today is a day off from running. 

60+ Miles & a Maneating Gator

 I just got back from a three day weekend in Lake Placid. We go every summer because my husband is race director for a swim event there. I always have a pretty relaxing time, although my husband is usually a bit stressed out. I think this is his last year being director. Or so he hopes. 

 

Friday’s view at lunchtime. I think I see a giant gator shadow in that lake.

 Friday night I kayaked for the first time. My husband needed help getting the rented kayaks and SUPs from the EMS store to the start of the race. I towed a couple SUPs while my husband towed four kayaks. I was incredibly awkward and it made my inner thighs kind of burn. Not the smartest thing for me to do the day before a 20 mile training run, but whatever. I was glad to help. It was funny because besides me being a clumsy kayaker, the town was hosting an outdoor showing of the movie “Lake Placid” and people were watching from land and from various water vehicles. So while I was out there – in the dark – slapping at the water and wobbling my way across the lake, we could hear horror movie giant gator attacks going on in the background. It made me giggle. I really wanted Betty White to appear on a dock to scream obscenities at me. 

 

Mirror Lake — i ran around this a bunch of times

 Saturday was race morning for my husband, and I had a 20 mile run to do, so I elected to run 7 1/2 times around Mirror Lake. I was able to stash 4 UCAN Hydrate filled Simple Hydration bottles in the garage that served as swim race central so that I could retrieve them without having to stop and refill. It would’ve been a bit more efficient if I didn’t keep seeing people I knew who I chit-chatted with more than I should’ve. It was just as well since I’d woken up with a sour stomach that stayed with me the entire run. I chalked it up as good practice in case I got a race day bellyache. I was so freaking thirsty! I don’t remember ever feeling this thirsty during a long run before, even with drinking a ton of fluids and electrolytes. 

I’d set out hoping to average around a 9:20-9:30 pace while running easy, and I ended up at 9:26, which should’ve made me happy given my stomach, the high humidity and the temperature. But I am simultaneously disappointed and feeling more confident in my upcoming marathon. I think I was unconsciously hoping I’d run sub 9:00 average. I didn’t look at my watch for most of the run, so it was all by easy-pace feel. 

Sunday I did a recovery run that went pretty well. My legs didn’t feel bad at all. Then when we got home mid-afternoon, I zonked out on the sofa for a couple hours. I almost never nap, so this was a surprise. 

I ran a bit over 60 miles last week, and I’m feeling pretty good today. My plantar fasciitis is significantly better, and I’m hoping that it’s behind me now. It took a lot of rehabbing to get back to normal. 

I’ve got some scary looking workouts later this week. It’s gonna be a tough one. 

It Really Is Like Riding a Bicycle

Yesterday I accompanied my coaching client on her long run by riding my mountain bike. I had already done my own 9 mile speed workout that morning, so I didn’t want to put more miles on my feet. My plantar fasciitis seems to be on the mend (knock wood) thanks to ART therapy, targeted strength workouts for PF and this weird little Flexibrace thing that I’ve been wearing at night. It works and was less than $10! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Plantar-Fasciitis-Night-Splint-Sock-Sleeve-Heel-Spurs-By-FLEXIBRACE-/310452914550?var=&hash=item48486f8976 <=not sponsored, just a happy customer.

 

this thing works! and isn’t at all uncomfortable

I was kind of nervous because I haven’t been on my bike in over a decade, since before I went to rehab.  I used to bike to the liquor store in my drinking days because I didn’t want to drive drunk. The store was only a mile away. I’m not saying this was at all responsible. It’s actually terrible and sad. I remember one time I’d loaded the saddlebags with too much wine and one bottle bounced out and broke on the street. And I seriously thought about seeing if I could salvage the little wine left in in bottom half of the bottle, glass shards be damned. And I thought about going back to the store to replace the bottle then and there because damnit if I didn’t need to have the original number of bottles for that evening.

My guess is that I rode yesterday a little steadier than when I was intoxicated. On that, my memory is fuzzy. But what I did notice was that riding 11 miles was super easy compared to how I felt riding the simple two miles back then. I even had my bike in the highest gear so that it was a little easier to ride with my runner. My fitness level is so much better than when I was sick with my alcoholism, it’s shocking. I’m saddlesore today, but otherwise fine. I won’t say I was 100% confident on the thing, but I did well.

My runner did great also! I’m glad I was able to coach her through the run (although much of it was general chit chat rather than me commenting on her running). We had a really pleasant afternoon. It was really nice to make a new association with the bike, one that was a saner, healthier me.

Thatcher State Park Hike

Hello and happy August!

This will be a key training month for me in preparation for the Wineglass Marathon on October 4. My coach sent me a couple intimidating sounding workouts to do this month — one is a 3 mile tempo followed by hill repeats at 5k pace (both in the same workout). Then I’ll have a 20 milers two days later. Yikes!

I’m also coaching two people, and my biggest challenge has been trying to keep them motivated with the heat and humidity slowing them down. I feel their pain. This step in learning to coach is a tough one. 

On Friday, I went to a new-to-me park for a 6.5 mile hike with my husband and some friends. The day was beautiful and less humid than we’ve been having. And the company was terrific. 

   
    
    
 

The One Where I Prove I’m an Idiot

  WTF pretty much sums up what I was thinking as I ran a mile to warm up for a training race/run this morning. The air was pretty gross. The upside was that it wasn’t unbearably hot. My fog-resistant sunglasses, which normally do great, were no match for the humidity. How is it not raining when it’s 94% humidity?

I’ve done this 5k race before, but they changed the course this year. It now included 15(!!!) turns, with 6 of them being in the last .6 mile. Turns tend to slow you down, so my goal this race was to practice surging after the turns to get me back on pace. I ran 16 miles last Sunday, did a couple speed workouts Tuesday and Thursday and ran easy 2 days, taking yesterday off with a sports massage (which you shouldn’t do the day before a goal race). So, not setting myself up for a PR (spoiler alert: no PR). 

  

This is a decent sized local race, over 1,000 runners. A lot of the high school kids come run it and, for the most part, kick everyone else’s collective asses. It’s also opening weekend for the track, and the race is right next to it, which means the whole area is a traffic mess. I think that’s why they changed the course this year, to keep runners off the main road to the Saratoga Racetrack. 

They don’t have a timing mat at the start, which means it’s kind of a clusterfuck at the beginning. The last two years they had folks with pace signs to get people to loosely seed themselves, but they didn’t do it this year. I wish they had. An announcer tried to get people to line up basically with sub-19 in the front then sub-24 then everyone else. As you can imagine, this wasn’t exactly precise or followed. 

My plan was to hit start on my Garmin at the gun, then hit lap when I crossed the start line, just so I could see what my time/pace was if there had been a net time. 

Which is where I first screwed up. 

Apparently I hit pause instead of lap. So I recorded about 10 seconds of about a 14 minute mile while I tried to navigate the crowd leading to the start line. Because I’ve been running Garmin-blind, I didn’t realize the watch was stopped until it buzzed on my wrist about .6 of a mile into the race. I uncovered it to see what was happening and saw it was counting down to automatic shutoff. Dumbass. 

I turned the watch back on, and hit lap when I passed the one mile marker. 

 

Above is my Garmin recording where it looks like I ran from the start right through the middle of the horse warm up track. I don’t think the horses would’ve liked that very much. Or the jockeys and horse owners. 

Luckily, we only did one turn in the race during that missed data period. And I wasn’t able to surge much that time because of people in the way. 

I only surged for about 3 seconds or so each time, just enough to knock me back to my pre-turn pace. A few people seemed a little weirded out by me doing it, mostly if I passed them. I tried to ignore any attempts at “racing” me when this happened because I wanted to maintain my pace, not borrow someone else’s. However, my pace still degraded during those last six turns, which you can see by the map came in fairly quick succession. One thing I learned from the pace data is that I probably slow down too much while in the turn. You can see in the graph of my paces that I drop off a lot in the turns. Wherever you see a peak corresponds to a turn. Even with surging afterward, I don’t think I should be slowing down that much around every corner. 

  

The second time I was an idiot this morning was at the finish line when I yet again hit the wrong damn button on my watch. This time I hit lap instead of stop, and it took me 10 seconds to figure out I’d done that dumb thing. I win for ineptness today. 

Because I am missing data from the first .6 mile and I’ve got additional time/distance due to my watch not being stopped at the finish, I kind of backed into my first mile pace for my own educational purposes. My official time was 24:48, so to estimate my first mile I took off the 10 seconds to get to the start line and used the .4 mile of data I do have to get these splits:

1 – 7:52-7:55 (estimate)

2 – 7:55

3 – 8:05 (lots of turns)

.11 – 7:05

  Note: I’m not pretending I actually ran faster than I did by cutting off those first 10 seconds — I just did it to figure out how I did for the turn exercise. My official time of 24:48 is what it took me from gun to finish on a certified course and that’s that. :)

It was an interesting exercise, but I wish I’d done better. The pace wasn’t terrible, but it did feel harder than I’d have liked for not being a 5k (or even 10k) race effort. And I almost got dusted by a race walker (wow was it cool to see her move!). I would’ve liked to have seen a better execution of surging the turns in that final mile. I’ve got plenty of work to do here.