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Posts Tagged ‘Marathon’

My running has been scattered, I’ve been going from 50 to 30 miles before Chicago.  55 miles after Chicago and back to 40 miles last week!  Right after Chicago I dove straight into running, 11 days none stop for 95 miles.  I won’t go into the detail of most runs since all my emotions have been poured into my Daily Mile updates instead but here’s a summary of the runs by day.

A few things to note:

– I think the 13 and some of the 11 milers were done in two parts between lunch and post work. With time management I am finding it physically and mentally easier to run twice in one day then once in a long time.

– That being said, I think I’m okay with doing double duty for mileage as long as I do one real “long run” a week

– The 15 miles on Saturday was my first long run in a while.  I flirted with some 13 milers in the beginning of the month but haven’t really done long runs in one standing

– The 15 miler was rough.  I averaged out at a 9:05 pace which includes a fast stretch and potty stop at mile 11.  I wish I could say 15 felt easy but I don’t think mentally I’m in long run shape.  I know physically I can do it, but my mind is not into it

– I struggled through the 15 miler by listening to gardening pod-casts.  I don’t actually think I absorbed anything or had any clue what they were talking about but it made me feel like I was multitasking and not just doing something I wasn’t in the mood for (like running).

– I’m been doing fartleks (not to be confusing with farting haha) on my treadmill runs.  I don’t think it’s the best kind of training for me since I should work on keeping a pace but those help make things less boring.

– I skipped a long run this weekend because I was visiting my family in NY.  Between 9 hours on a bus and just how fast a day and half fly by, I decided taking a 3 hour run was not the best use of my time.  And no waking up early is not an option.  I love my sleep dearly.

– I was stubborn.  So stubborn that I decided I couldn’t go to bed until I did a long run on Monday.  The 22 miles is composed of 6 miles during lunch and 16 after work.  The 16 miles were hard physically.  I thought two days of rest would make me amped up for speed, instead I wanted to sit on the couch and watch Olympics as I ran vicariously through the professionals on TV.   I took an 8 minute break around mile 14 where I had to beg myself into going back outside for 2 more miles.  In the end the average pace with break was 9:41.  I know that I ran around 8:30 for the first 8 miles before I just lost energy.

– I did take Gu Chumps, but Gu Chumps can’t replace a real meal that my body was craving at 7:30 PM.  I tried to tell it that if it waited til 9 a burger and beer was waiting for it, but it wouldn’t believe me.  I listened to about 3 running podcasts to keep me motivated.

Run Run Live podcast is awesome so I highly recommend it for some mojo on your run.

Why am I so insistent on long runs again after calling it quits for the summer? Well I must confess, flipflopped back on running the RnR Montreal marathon if I don’t have to work that weekend.  I had a slight freak-out when all the promo hotels with group discounts were sold out.  But! I found shelter for $36 a night next to the starting line.  AirBnB rocks!

I will also be using AirBnB for renting a room for the Providence RnR half marathon!  While I haven’t personally stayed in a room through the site yet, friends that have said it turned out cheaper and better than a hotel room so we shall see.

And because I can’t have a post without some pictures

Whenever I visit Brooklyn, sushi takeout is a must

Since Tony wasn’t there with me, I got this all to myself!

My parents took me to Ikea because I am in search of cheap curtains

Alas, no curtains were purchased at Ikea but somehow I walked out with a full belly instead.  I must say, next time I’m going to try to trade some of the balls for more mashed potatoes.  It was great!

This is a Tuesday shot but GeorgeTown cupcakes on Newbury celebrating Crocs

Can I just say that the free secret cupcakes they have everyday is the best worst idea ever.

Hope everyone had a great July!

Can’t believe it’s August in a night’s sleep.  Where did my summer go!

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A catch up of running

I didn’t write a recap of week three of training because I have to admit I didn’t get very far after Thursday’s run.  I did reach 33 miles but it was only because I went hard Tuesday and Thursday.  Friday came, no run, Saturday no run, and Sunday still no run.  I did cool things like hike and bike; but I really didn’t have a good excuse for not running Sunday.  Truth was I was scared and lazy.  It was too hot, I was “busy” visiting my family and I really didn’t want to run on a breakdown lane of a highway since upstate NY does not have anywhere for pedestrians.

Yes call me pansy but this city runner is not into it.  I did do some big time gambling.  I won $9 of a penny machine just to lose most of it on scratch lotto tickets afterwards!

I guess I’m not as skilled at Penny Gambling as my parents.

Luckily week 4 of training towards something or other is going better!  At least as far as total miles go!  47 and I still have a possible “long” run tomorrow.  I have to admit, going past 13 miles hasn’t been achieved yet since the heat started and the skating ring where I get my water has closed down for the season.

Monday 6.1 miles on the treadmill and 7 miles after work.  I wanted to go for 10 after work since I didn’t run for 3 miles but as soon as I hit the pavement in the heat my legs felt dead as I struggled after 3 miles and called it a day after stopping by the house for more water.

Tuesday 6.35 miles on the treadmill, tried to do speed-work but I am not at the speed I was in March when things were cooler and breathing was easier.  Since I was going to skip my regular strength class due to plans I decided it was time to dust off my Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zone video.

My trainer on the other hand gave me the stink eye each time I only did half the reps Jillian did and watched Glee Project instead.  I guess he did not approve.

Wednesday was America’s birthday and my anniversary with the Tony.  We celebrated in true Run to Munch fashion by running and munching.  8.5 miles we slaved away together.  After I went off and did 4.6 more to end at 13.1.  It took two litters of water, lots of rest breaks and an average pace when all was said and done at 10 minute miles.  Not my goal speed but humidity hits me like that and I was still glad to be doing double-digits.

Thursday – 6.1 miles during lunch which felt exceptionally easy & pleasant after running in the hot humid day of Wednesday

Friday – 3.35 quickie before a very special date =)

Saturday – Quick 4.5 miles at the Y followed by a slow walk in the humidity back home..

Now I should probably sleep so I can run long tomorrow and be a productive homeowner and work on fixing the broken windows in the attic.

My life is full of glamour!

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In my last post I argued why running in blistering heat is good for you!  In the second part I’ll talk about some tips I’m using or plan on using this summer.
They say in running all you need is a pair of shoes.  As I and every runner out there looks at their closet, we all know that’s not true.  Aside from vanity outfits and fancy watches, every drastic season requires its gear.  I think true fall and maybe spring (not that I know what spring is since Boston goes from snow to 95 degrees) are the only times of the year where I can take my sneakers, throw on any capri & shirt and just go running.  Summer; however, just like winter requires some extra thought before I head out.

Hot Weather Essentials – What  I found I need to survive a hot run

1. Water Device – This is a must when it’s really hot.  Some people stash water bottles or rely on water fountains but if it’s 95 degrees out there, you should play it safe and bring your own on you.  They say you should drink at least 8 oz. of water every one to two hours on your run. Usually that means taking a sip here and there every 15-20 minutes for me.  There are tons of options out there!  My choice is a handheld. I like how it’s easy access to water at any moment.  Only annoying part is I have to carry it.

This one on amazon seems pretty similar to mine.  I like to put my iphone in the side pocket and that works for me.  Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 10-Ounce Hand-held Bottle.  Tony on the other hand prefers his fanny pack like this Nathan Speed 2 Waist Pack with Two 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks one.  I personally find them a little annoying to manage and the bottles bruises up my hips.  Regardless, get one that you find comfortable and you’ll use all the time.   I saw a bunch of them at Marshalls for around the same price as Amazon so check them out there.

2. Electrolyte replacement – I hate to break it to you but no matter what you’re going to sweat and it’s going to be a lot.  With the water bottle above you’ll be able to replace some of the water you sweat out but not electrolytes.  If you’re going outside for just a 30 minutes run I think you should be okay.  Again I’m no doctor or expert but that’s a small rule I follow for myself.  For longer runs I use 1 nuun Active Hydration Drink tab.  I haven’t worked up to 20 milers in the summer yet but I think once I get up to that I might use 2 Nuun tabs by refilling my bottle on the second part of my run.  They sell the single tubes at running expos for about $5 and running stores for like $6 a tube.  My favorite flavor is the pink lemonade followed by the ice tea one.  Some people also mix Gatorade or Powerade with water and take that on their runs.  My stomach wants to punish me badly every time I go near Gatorade so it’s not for me but others enjoy it.  Other suggestions I read was carrying pretzels or some salts packs on you. Play around with different things on your shorter runs until you find some electrolyte balancing method that works for you and use it!

3. Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock – Skin cancer is bad mmmkay…. wrinkles are even worse (jk, kinda haha).  Either way for vanity or health wear at least SPF 15 pretty much everywhere. I just ordered Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 45 Twin Pack 3.0 Fl Oz from amazon to bring one bottle to my parents house because they have this theory that sunblock doesn’t expire and use some stuff they brought a decade ago. Speaking of which, sunblock expires!  Don’t buy a Costco bulk unless you plan on using it all up in one season.   While expired sunblock won’t hurt you, it won’t be protecting you either.  If you use coupon code SUN58965 on the amazon link you get an extra 20% off. I wear that stuff on my face too but I guess you can buy face specific sunblock as well… I have to admit though I’m one of those girls that in the winter, I decide that the SPF in my moisturizer and make-up is enough, but in the summer I don’t play that game.  Sunblock! Sunblock!

4. Great Socks – For the most part I can run in any type of sock and don’t have issues unless it’s hot and humid.  Blisters suck! When it’s humid and hot there’s only so much moisture most socks can take.  I know some people bring an extra pair and switch.  I hate carrying things so I try my hardest to avoid that.  I did find a pair by accident and so far a year later it has yet to fail me.  I only have one pair and I only use it on race days and long runs when it’s above 80. I ordered ASICS Women’s Hera Quarter Running Socks on amazon last year and didn’t realize that for $11.99 you only get one pair. However, after the 5 hour nightmare that was the Boston Marathon, I don’t regret it. In the winter I used these Thorlo Unisex Experia CoolMax Mini Crew Sock (I got them at Marshalls for half the price) but I find the thick bottom and top too hot for the summer.  Tony doesn’t have this issue but I guess I just sweat at ton more than the average human.

5. All your other clothes – I have to also confess, I like running in cute silly logos and quote cotton t-shirts and when I go to the gym for just a 5 mile run I still do; however, not for outside.  Instead when running outside in really hot weather, I look for light-colored, loose-fitting wicking running gear. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler and your pores unclogged. Back acne will never be sexy. I buy these tech shirts at target in every colour when they become last season and become half the price.  For bottoms as you call tell from my other post, I’ve become quite the fan of searching Marshalls for running skirts (except Fila, don’t get those, they’re funky sizing at Marshalls).

6. Other things that are highly recommended – Sunglasses I hear are comfortable and would probably prevent my eyes from being closed in every racing photo; however, I don’t own a pair and have no advice to give on which ones work.  Hats are good too to cover up your dome. Sometimes, but not as often as I should, I wear this white cap I got somewhere.  It’s something like this ASICS cap  and really helps out on those days where there’s really no shade.  Only advice I can give is make sure it’s white.  I have a black one from the colder days and I can tell you one thing it’s not good for, reflect the sun.

Now that you have your clothes, socks and most importantly water with some electrolytes you’re ready to go outside!

Hot Weather Running Tips

1. Adjust your speed!  The American Running and Fitness Association recommends that on your first run in the heat you should cut your intensity by 65 to 75 percent. Then over the next 10 days, slowly build back to your previous level. I’m not sure what that means but I know my race speed is about 7:35 min mile, my regular run speed on my own is 8:05 and when it’s hot I’ve been running between 8:30-8:45 and feeling the burn.

2. Plan Ahead – Make sure you have a way out if you don’t feel well or have a water stop around or store (bring cash).  Carry a water bottle as I mentioned above and I usually break up my runs into 2 smaller loops vs. 1 giant loop to be closer to home in case I need more water.

3. Don’t forget to drink.  I know this is repetitive but by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

4. Acclimate yourself by working yourself up to long runs as you get used to the heat.  It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to acclimate to warmer conditions. Indications of dehydration include elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear.  I know I can’t be the only runner out there whose favorite thing to do after a long run is to check out her pee.

Running in extreme weather is risky and while I highly advocate working through this obstacle you should still be careful and be aware of the risks involved.  Marathon Guide has this cool chart that I am borrowing for this post.

Apparent
Temperature
Heat Stress Risk with Physical Activity
and/or Prolonged Exposure
90° – 105° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible
105° – 130° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely Heatstroke possible
130°+ Heatstroke highly likely

Check the Heat Index Chart for apparent temperature. This is the number that calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.

Marathon Guide lists the following SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS

1) HEAT CRAMPS
Causes: Loss of electrolytes and accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
Conditions: Muscle cramps and/or spasms, heavy sweating, normal body temperature.
Treatment: Drink water and sports drink, slow down, massage affected area.

2) HEAT EXHAUSTION
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition and loss of electrolytes.
Conditions: Profuse sweating, possible drop in blood pressure (less than 90 systolic, the top number), normal or slightly elevated body temperature, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, decreased coordination, possible fainting.
Treatment: Rest in a cool place, drink water and sports drink, if BP drops below 90 systolic, call EMS, avoid activity for at least 24 hours, refrain from running or exercising in the heat for at least one week.

3) HEAT STROKE
This is a medical emergency!
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition, older age, dehydration, obesity, wearing heavy clothing, running in the heat when you have an infection or fever, certain drugs such as amphetamines, diuretics, beta blockers, cardiovascular disease, poor acclimatization, high blood pressure.
Conditions: High body temperature (106 or higher), lack of sweating characterized by dry, red skin, altered consciousness.
Treatment: Call EMS! Rest in a cool place, remove clothing to expose skin to air, apply ice packs or cool water to groin, underarms, neck (stop if shivering).

Other things of interest, while researching hot weather running I found this article from Running Times I though some might enjoy – Myths about running in the heat

That’s all the essentials that I can think of that I use, what are yours?  Where do you get them? When I lived in Brooklyn or Somerville, I used to go to stores to buy things but after dating Tony, Amazon prime membership came with him so with free 2-day shipping I’ve become one of those Amazon ordering freaks.

What are your other tips for running in the heat?  Any advice and lessons from the run?

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Here’s the funny part about living in Boston;  When you tell people you train outside during the winter in negative degree snowbound weather, they don’t bat an eye but tell them you went running during 95 degree weather and suddenly you’re crazy.   Although our heat wave is slowing down in Boston, summer is by no means over.  The 2012 Boston Marathon proved that even in April you’re not safe from blasting hot weather.  If it’s cold, you layer up but for heat?  There’s a limit to how many layers you can take off…

I’ve heard of some useful tips on training during hot days, or more specifically working your hardest to avoid it.

– Run really early or later in the day to avoid the sun
– Check the weather for the week and adjust your runs to the cooler days
– Run on shaddy trails
– Take your run indoors

These are all good ideas and are good tips for starting out but in the words of Scott Jurek Sometimes You Just Do Things.” Sometimes you just need to train in the heat and there’s no avoiding it.  Why?

1. As we learned during the 2012 Boston Marathon Nightmare, you can’t always pick your race day weather and races are rain or shine no matter how hot the shine is.
2.  If you’re training for a fall race, summer running needs to be done.  Or at least for me, if I don’t practice running, I can’t show up on a random day and run a marathon, sadly I’m just not that talented
3.  You can’t always pick your day or time you work out when you have other responsibilities.  I’m not an evening runner.  If I run at night, I can’t sleep for hours so sunset runs are out.  Also as a tiny gal, it’s not the most safest running decision I can make.
4. Studies show that heat training improves performance.  One study done be in 2010 at the University of Oregon concluded that turning up the heat might be one of the best things for athletes competing in cool weather since Gu.

The researchers took 12 highly trained cyclists — 10 males and two females — before and after a 10-day heat acclimation program. Participants underwent physiological and performance tests under both hot and cool conditions. A separate control group of eight highly trained cyclists underwent testing and followed the same exercise regime in a cool environment.

The study found performance increases of approximately 7 percent after 10 heat acclimation exposures. “In terms of competitive cycling, 7 percent is a really big increase and could mean that cyclists could use this approach to improve their performance in cooler weather conditions,” said Lorenzo. However, the heat exposures must be in addition to the athletes’ normal training regimen.

Heat acclimation improves the body’s ability to control body temperature, improves sweating and increases blood flow through the skin, and expands blood volume allowing the heart to pump to more blood to muscles, organs and the skin as needed. You can read the full study here with all the technical jargon.

This will conclude part one of my two-part running in heat posts.  I talked about why you shouldn’t skip your run just because it’s hot, next I’ll talk about some tips and some hot weather running essentials that I’ve picked up from my experience thus far!

Today I tried to implement the heat acclimation theory and was going to skip the treadmill to do some “heat training.”  However it started to rain and I had nothing to protect my phone with.  Instead I went inside.  Luckily for heat training purposes the Malden Y is 200 degrees. So I ran my 4 out of 5 miles there instead.  Saturday and Sunday are 10 and a 13 miles for me this weekend as part of ultra training. Hopefully the thunderstorms will hide away in the morning!

I hope everyone has a runful weekend!

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First of all, Happy Father’s day to the man who made me who I am today and to all great fathers in the world.  I’m very fortunate to have grown up and been surrounded by some very wonderful men in my life.  Sadly, I do not get to see either of the two father figures in my life on this day or often.  My grandfather passed away a few years ago and I miss him dearly.  Because I just moved and have been unpacking for a week I didn’t get a chance to go to NY to visit my parents but I hope to go down soon and visit them in the next few weekends.

If you’re on DailyMile, you’d notice I’m back on the running juice!  I am doing more cross training and more stretching, some ART therapy but for the most part I notice very little difference between running and not running for my tight piriformis muscle.  That does not mean that the 10 days off were a waste.  It gave my legs a nd knees some much-needed time off.  It also allowed me to reset my training cycle.  I have a few marathons coming up in the fall but I think ultimately I’m going to train for a 50K.  Not sure which one yet, but I’ve noticed I’m much better training for distance instead of speed so I always seem to get injured when I try to go fast.  Although I’m a forefoot runner, I’m still a very clumsy runner who always bouncing from side to side and yet somehow manages to not fall.  If I had to make a bet on the first runner to trip over her own feet, I would bet its me.  In fact there have been plenty of times on training runs where I somehow managed to kick myself while running on windy days.  The ART doc told me my hips are misaligned and maybe that’s part of it.  Hopefully as I work some more on strength, I can become a more balanced individual (no pun intended).

Its Sunday and this concludes what I’ll consider my first week back in training.  Just because it’s a regular Runday, doesn’t mean you can’t dress up.

My next race is RnR half in Providence and I wanted to test out my racing outfit I got this week.  Best (or maybe worst?) part, it cost me around $50.  Let’s face it, running trends like all others can add up pretty fast and I confess I’m a tool like all others to cute pinks objects.  Running accessories are no exceptions.  I tried to hold back but I finally caved it.

Target Tech Shirt $7 on sale

Marshalls Running Skirt with a zipper pocket in the back $14 I got this on Friday as I hunt down all running skirts except FILA that come in size XS so if you’re interested in one go and get one fast as I never see the same things there twice.  Only exception is FILA skirts because they suck!  I haven’t run in one but I tried on 3 and they already felt uncomfortable before I even started running.  At least in my humble opinion.

Zensah Calf Sleeves $34 as they were 20% off this week at City Sports.  I know I shouldn’t have but I just could not resist.  Perfect for those slightly cool days like today.

So a backwards recap of week 1 of training:

Sunday Run

Total Mile Ran today 10.52 – Outside – 2 podcasts (Running with the Pack & Jillian Michaels) worth!

Total Time 1:28:50 Average Pace 8:27

I stayed on the usual paved road that runs along the fells and did two loops.  It was hot and part of me wanted to stop after my first one and call it a day.  I was running with a full bottle of water to hydrate (Nunn tab for taste and electrolytes).  With the exception of slower start and ending miles, my middle miles were at a consistent 8 minute pace.  I’m using the runkeeper couch that I have set to 7:30 my goal race time.  I don’t expect to be running at that speed and to be honest when I first went running I was only targeting a 9 minute mile but was pleasantly surprised that with no stronger effort I was down to 8:30.  I think hearing how far I am off pace from my ultimate goal is just a good reminder to me of my long-term plan.

Saturday Run

Total Miles Ran 10:55 Outside through hills, roads, some trails in the Fells and 7 miles of it were with Tony.

Total Time 1:43 Average Pace 9:46 

I was only going to do 8 miles but Tony and I ran at a fairly easy pace that I just felt like I wanted to stay out a bit longer in the amazing weather we had.  Good thing I did because after I got back, mother nature turned cold and cloudy!  I also caved in and brought a pair of compression shorts and yes they’re totally worth it if you have misaligned hips where you flutter side to side.  This kept me all up and centered.  Maybe it’s just my jiggly butt that makes me run silly.

Friday Run

No Run had an ART appointment instead.

Thursday

7 miles on the Elliptical, 1.5 miles to the Y & back jog.  I felt sore from Wednesday’s run.  I did the hour-long senior citizens sculpt class at the Y.  I think I’m the only young person there but it’s better than nothing.  Otherwise the only lifting I get is picking up some heavy bricks of chocolate pounders from Trader Joe’s.  Either war I enjoy the more relaxed easy-going environment and am adding the Tue/Thurs class to my training cross training schedule.

Wednesday Run

I didn’t know what to expect from this run.  This was my first longish run on the treadmill in a while.  I had a plan B to quit at 8 miles but I roughed it out for 10! I did the first 8 on incline 3 and the last 2 in a super slow walk/run routine on incline 2.  I still believe that running on incline helps me be faster on pavement.   It did feel good to be rebounding with the old treadmill I saw so much of during March.ues

Totals Miles 10.03

Total Time 1:33 Average Pace 9:11 

Tuesday

Total Miles 4.5 I don’t have the total time or pace as I felt so angry about just being too exhausted to run.  I just moved and was running on 5 hours of sleep.  Lack of sleep = dead legs.  I debated for a while about skipping the Y class but I really had no excuse so I sucked it up, went and felt much better and stronger.  I can almost do 2 big girl push ups.

Monday Run

First day of the week… First day with lack of sleep.  Living on a street with more trees is nice.  Living on a street with birds waking you up at 4AM is a lot less pleasant.  I’m adjusting but Monday was rough.

Totals Miles 6.1

Total Time 55 minutes Average Pace 9? I don’t remember the incline, might have been 2 or 3.  I didn’t run last weekend due to moving so i felt happy for the run.

In summary, 42 miles for my first week back… Not bad.  I feel okay and pretty good since before I took a small break I was running 60-70 a week.  Since my intermission hasn’t been too long I’m following the approach of 20% mileage increase until I’m at 55-60 and then possibly 10%.  I need to have a strong base by September 15 as that’s when I’ll be working weekends and running will have to be drastically cut back on the weekdays.  I’ll resume mileage after October 15th to wrap up final training for Philly Marathon before a one week taper of the Weekend of November 18th.  Rough draft of the plan so far.  It’s in my head, now I just need to get it down on paper.

I think for week 2 I’ll target 48 miles.

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It’s my favorite holiday!  National Running Day!  I ran today!  After a 10 day break, it felt great to hit the treadmill!  I’ll go more into my doctor/running experience but I wanted to share some sales that are tempting me beyond human levels.

If you’re like me and signed up for races or other email lists I’m sure you’re email is going off the hook with deals.  Some of them are pretty sweet.  Here’s the ones tempting me at the moment.

Rock n Roll $20 off all races  – I think I’m going for the New Orleans Marathon for $75 in Feb.  Southwest flies there so bonus points!  I need to use my miles before they go bankrupt like all the other airlines

US Road Sports  – Only $10 off but their races are a lot cheaper than RnR.  I’m eyeballing the SLC marathon.  It’s around the same time as Boston but I think if I can re-qualify for 2014 I might skip 2013.  I know I want a redemption race from the 2012 failure but I’m not sure when I’ll take it.  Small rant but, I don’t think I actually enjoy Boston compared to all my other races.  In fact aside from the Spartan Race, I think Boston was my least favorite run. Having to take a day off from work and then sit around for 3 hours before running wasn’t too exciting.

City Sports – 20% off, not sure what I’m buying yet but I’m sure I can find a few things I need.

Let me know if you know of any other deals!

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First… I know this is getting annoying, but if you have time please take a minute to vote for me at Team Refuel so I can run the Philly marathon on my birthday and you can help raise $1 for charity.

I ran the TARC Spring Classic race on April 28th 2012.

The race had several options 10K, Half Marathon (which Tony did), Marathon & 50K.  I got very ambitious and signed up for the 50K.  Due to recent knee pain and being completely unprepared I DNFed the race.  I’ll go more into the reason why later.  However, this won’t stop me from reviewing and mentioning how awesome the race was!

The four races are hosted by a group called the Trail Animal Running Club.  The races were very low-key with amazing volunteers.  There was a total of 300-400 runners.  Because there was no chip system in place the registration fee was only $20.  No race expo, no selling you crap you don’t need but want, just pure simple running.

The 10K started at 8AM and the other races at 8:15.  The race was held in Weston, MA.  A place I haven’t visited before but was in awe how pretty all the houses are.  Tony and I got there at 7:45AM to get our bib numbers.  We then hid in the car trying to stay warm as it was about 45 degrees outside.

The Hobo hat came back from my closet for a visit.  You may laugh but it’s so warm!

Neither of us have ever done a trail race before.  We haven’t even taken a trail run; even though we’re two miles away from Middlesex Fells Reservation, before.    Needless to say we were nervous and excited to start.

We originally planned on staying together.  I was running with a gimp leg and figured running with Tony would be a smart pacing strategy vs. me trying to compete with everyone around me. However that did not work out.

The course was a 10K loop.  You do 5 loops to complete a 50K.  In order for the half marathoner and marathoners to get their exact distance they had a small little mini loop in the beginning of the trail.  The full marathon people did this mini loop twice.  So within 1 minute Tony and I said our goodbyes and went on our separate ways.

The course was a mix of fire roads (30%) and single track trails (70%).  What I thought was going to be an easy flat trail was anything but flat.  While there were no switchbacks and miles upon miles of decent, the single tracks were a constant up and down experience.  Lots of rocks, lots of twigs, and a few muddy creeks.

The first loop (10K) went by great!  I felt strong, I felt awesome!  I felt like a movie star running through the woods of a zombie scene.

All the photography was done by the creek or on the fire roads so needless to say I have no justice for the single track trail part.

I saw the clock said either 50-55 minutes when I finished the first loop.  I grabbed two Gu chumps from the fuel table and ran on my way.  More on how awesome the fuel/water station was later.

The second loop I think was my fastest.  I knew what to expect, I knew where to go and I felt more confident about myself.  Well almost.  Me and the creeks… Well..

I was running in new shoes and really did not want to get them too muddy!

I hit my second loop/ 20K at about 1:50.  I looked around for Tony but he was busy being a beast of his own so I grabbed two more Gu Chumps and made my way.

Somewhere in the middle of my third loop, my gimp leg/knee woke up and decided its time to stop running.  I slowed my pace and did a half run half walk type of thing.  I finished my 30K somewhere around 3:20 where I found Tony waiting for me.

This guy finished the half in 2:21!

Looking back, I probably should have signed up for just the half.  I don’t think my body was ready for the complexity of trail running to that distance.  I should not have run in Asics that are half a size too big on me.  While it’s okay to wear shoes a little big for road running to prevent some toenail losses, such was not the case with trails.  I have the blisters to prove it.

The course had a single aid/fuel station that you passed by each time you completed a loop.  The volunteers were super cool and refilled all your water bottles for you and gave you anything you needed.  Because it was a 10K trail with no water stops people were strongly encouraged to run with a water bottle.  I ran the first loop without mine but grabbed it off the grass on the second loop.  I’m used to running 15 miles without water so given the cold weather I wasn’t too concerned for just 6 miles.  I mixed water with a nuun hydration tab and mostly relied on that for hydration.

Old photo, no Try chips or Coconut water, but that’s the water bottle I ran with.

In addition to water & Gu Brew the race provided, everyone was asked to bring one snack from one type as designated by the last letter of your last name.  This created an almost trail running pot luck picnic!  After I DNFed, I munched on delicious brownies, pretzels, sweet potato chips and s’mores.  I wanted to make sure that for every calorie I burned, I took in 3x as much back into my body.

Could I have finished the race?  Yes, I think I could have finished in between 5 to 6 hours.  Although the pace would have been slow for me, it was a pace that more than half the people finished at.  However, poor Tony forgot to bring his school books so I felt bad making him wait for me as I hiked/ran 20K more.  I think judging by the blisters I got from my half-size too big shoes, it was a good idea to stop as well or at least to change my socks.  As much as it hurt my pride, I walked away and went home.  I did end up doing a small hike by my house with a friend so maybe I could mentally add that to my mileage towards the 50K.

Also how could I not forget, I got to meet two of my Daily Mile friends!  I think this was one of my favorite parts of the race.  Putting faces to people who support and motivate me on a daily basis.  I think I seem a little dazed in my internal struggle to want to run, but I really did enjoy meeting people in real life and wish I had time to stick around more.

Aside from a bruised ego I walked away with a new love for trail running.  I love the support and spirit of all the runners.  Instead of a competition, I felt as I was part of a community.  The cool part is that TARC often has small group runs in the Blue Hills (south of Boston) and the Fells (North of Boston by me) on weekends.  I intend to try to make as many of those as possible.  That way, by the time the Summer TARC classic 50K comes I’ll be ready!

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