Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Accomplishments for 2013

According to MapMyRun.com. I ran 917.8 miles in 2013. Work and injuries got in the way of a lot of good running days this year.

The following is a list of my races for 2013. I don’t plan on running nearly this many races in 2014. For 2014, I need to somehow increase my mileage. I have signed up for a half marathon in May and a full marathon in October. I’m not too worried about the half because I ran it last year, but a full marathon is a new level of training for me. 26.2 miles, crazy!

5K
Cupid’s Chase – 28:08 (Snowy!) (1st place AG)
Run for Your Heart – 24:30
Robert’s Run – 24:35
Walk, Wag, Run – 24:05
Parlor City23:27 (1st place AG)
Kelly LaBrre – 23:51
Invictus – 24:02 (Master’s win)
Women’s Distance – 24:00
Super Hero – 24:56
Chris Thater – 24:02 (1st place AG)
Bell of Hope – 25:21 (Hard course)
Saint James – 24:47
Santa Run – 23:55 (1st place AG)

10K
January Freeze 1 – 58:09
January Freeze 2 – 55:53
January Freeze 3 – 56:33
January Freeze 4 – 57:46
Montrose Independence Day – 53:37 (Hard course)
Octoberfast – 51:50 (2nd place AG)

15K
Chenango Forks - 1:28:53 (Very hilly course, ran with an IT band injury)

20K
Vestal XX – 1:50:26 (Hard course!)

HM
Binghamton Bridge – 1:53:06

Other
Saint Patrick 4-miler – 33:49

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter

Winter is here and has been here for a few weeks and is showing no signs of leaving. I try not to let the cold weather interfere with my running, but it's hard to get out there when it's windy and only 20 degrees.

I ran the annual Santa Run 5K on Sunday. There were over 700 runners. That's a lot for this area. The start of the race was chaos. Lots of people in the front who should have been in the back. I got boxed in at least five times before the crowd started to thin out. I have run this course many times and know where my slow points are. In any race I run, there are parts where I kind of doze off and just run without paying any attention to my time. Then I wake up and start racing again. When I downloaded my Garmin, I was happy to see that I ran my usual slow parts well, but unhappy to see that I dozed off in a different section. My finish time was 23:55 which is excellent despite the dozing. I placed 106 out of 760 and received a first place age group win.

I have one more race this Saturday which is also a holiday-themed race. The forecast is for snow. I have raced on snow before, but it's tricky. This will be my last race for the year. Having run in road races for two years now, I think I have 5Kd myself out. I enjoy the racing part, but I am really bored with the 5K distance. I prefer longer races - 10K, 15K, half marathons. Unfortunately, most races around here are 5Ks.

 For 2014, I am going to focus on distance running. The longest I have ever been on my feet is 2:20 and that was months ago. Sunday is long runday for most runners. When spring comes, and the danger of slipping on ice or getting hit by a snowplow are gone, I'm going to start running some serious distances.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer race recap

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since July 15th. I write for a living and sometimes this ruins the desire to write for fun.

Here’s a recap of my summer races:

  • August 4th – Kelly LaBarre 5K, time: 23:51. This was a rather large race (467 runners) on a narrow course. Plus there was a hot air balloon festival going on at the same time. This was my first time running this race. I thought I should have done a little better, but I was still happy with my time.
  • August 10th – Invictus 5K, time: 24:02 for a Master’s win ($20 gift certificate)! I really like this race. It’s small, I think there were 150 runners total, but the race director is great and there is a lot of positive energy in this race. I also like the course. This was my second time running this race and my first Master's win.
  • August 15th – Women’s Distance 5K, time: 24:00. This is girls only race held in Otsiningo Park. It is very competitive. I have run this course so many times that I am starting to really dislike it. The park is nice, but the trail along the river is narrow and it is an out and back race which means there are runners going in both directions. I placed 38 out of 209 which is very good, but I felt myself losing interest in the race by mile two.
  • August 25th – Chris Thater 5K, time: 24:02. I love this race. The Chris Thater 5K is part of a weekend-long bike race event that attracts elite runners from all over (big prize money). I wanted to do really well in this race, but have been plagued with a muscle pull since early August. A weird adductor tightness on the left inner thigh which causes pain across the groin region. I didn’t feel it very much during the race, but I was very sore the next day. I started the race off well, but felt myself slowing down around mile two. I had some energy for the finish, but wasn’t real happy with my time. The great part about this race is a large spectator crowd and an announcer at the finish line. After the race I hung around for the awards. My time was slow for this race so I didn’t think I’d won anything. When it was time for my age group, third place went to one of my running friends. Then it hit me. I’d beat her. Was I going to get second? Nope, I wound up with first place. A $50 gift certificate. Not bad for a not-so-great run.

August was a busy month for races which caused a lot of stress on the muscle pull. Just when it was starting to get better, I’d run a race and re-injure it again. My plan was to take it easy for September.

I injured the muscle running the hills around my house. Because I am a slow uphill runner, I tried to make up the time by running very fast downhill. Downhill is what caused the injury. I now know I can’t go flying down hills with tired muscles. Apparently my form falls all apart when I run downhill. I need to work on this.

For the first week of September, I did a few very slow runs. This was really all the injured muscle would allow. The smart thing would have been to not run at all, but that wasn’t going to happen. I also bought a bike in August and started riding the bike up and down the hills. Pedaling uses entirely different muscles and didn’t seem to aggravate the adductor at all. So at least I was still getting in some exercise.

There was a race on September 15 that I thought I would be ready for. It was a themed superhero race where everyone dresses up as a comic book superhero. I like theme races. As the race date got closer, I started pushing myself a little more. Because I’d been running slow, running fast was now hard. I was nowhere near my usual run pace of 8:35. I was hoping I could draw off the energy of other runners at the race. Sometimes that works for me. 

The morning of the race I woke up with a pain in my knee. I think it was from a hill I’d biked up a few days before. I was determined to pedal all the way to the top. I’d been walking the steepest part. I’d felt something give in my knee just as I reached the top of the hill, but it wasn’t all that painful so I didn’t think too much about it. Or maybe I’d just slept funny on my knee. Not sure, but the knee was very sore as I pulled on my superhero tights and found my Captain America T-shirt. It was a cold morning, 49 degrees, so I wore a long-sleeve shirt as well.

By race time, the knee felt a little better. I was enjoying all the dressed up runners. Some people really get into this race. I took my spot just behind the front runners and suddenly we were off and running.

For mile one I was fine. My usually fast pace of around 7:15. There is a spot on this course where I always lose steam. I was determined not to do that today and I didn’t. My pace dropped to around 7:35, but that was OK. At the start of mile three, I started to feel some tightness in my left leg. This time in the hamstring area. I was also starting to feel tired. At the point in the race where I usually give it all I have left, I discovered that I had very little left. I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:54. Not at all what I was hoping for. Oh well, it was still a fun race. This was a fundraiser race with no age group awards that I was aware of. I left before the costume awards were given. There was nothing spectacular about my costume.

The next day my knee and hamstring area hurt a lot. I took a few days off and then went back to my slow motion running. I’m starting to wonder if I will ever be able to run fast again. At age 48, I’m only going to be able to run so fast, but it’s fun to win an AG award every now and then.

There is a 5K race on the 29th and I have yet to decide if I should run it or not. Everything is feeling better, but only if I don't push it too hard. I'm not liking this injury stuff at all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Amazing new PR

Saturday I ran in a local 5K race. My goal was 23:58. I wanted to break 24 minutes so bad. Well guess what? I did it!

As usual, I ran a very fast half mile. I lined up right behind the front runners and followed them until the excitement subsided a little and I had to force myself to slow down. The course was fairly flat with just two small hills and then downhill to the finish. I ran it last year and finished with a time of 28:40. That was last year.

At the one mile mark, I was still moving along pretty good, but runners were passing me by. It seemed like a lot. I let them go and just kept running. At a mile and a half, a familiar runner pulled up beside me. “Kathy” is a good two minutes better than me in most races so I decided I would keep pace with her for as long as I could. She glanced over at me several times with a rather confused or perhaps annoyed look on her face. “Why is this girl still with me?”

At two and a half miles she started to inch ahead. My legs were feeling a little tired so I let her go. I needed energy for the finish and still had a ways to go. Bye-bye Kathy. Thanks for the ride.

As I neared the bridge that would take me to the finish line, the clock read 23:06. Yes! That tiny bit of energy I had saved for the end kicked in and I flew across the bridge and down the slight hill to the finish line. So did some big strapping dude behind me. Another few steps and he would have beat me, but it was too late. The race was over. My time: 23:27.

Green shirt, blue shorts, heading to the finish line. 23:24 on the clock with just a few steps to go.
On Sunday, the results were posted and guess who was number one for the 40-49 age group? Me! And guess who won women’s masters? Not me, but Kathy, with a time of 23:00. I was only 27 seconds behind her. A slow race for Kathy, but an excellent race for me. Overall, I finished 61 out of 332 runners

As thrilled as I am with this time, it’s going to be a hard one to beat in my next 5K which is in a few weeks. I always try to do just a little bit better in every race. Can I do better than this?

A year ago I was running in the 28s with visions of 26 or less way in the future. But in my next few races, I hit 26.

Can I really run a number that starts with 22? Seems absolutely impossible at the moment, but I’m going to try. And hopefully Kathy will be having a better day so I can ride her coattail just a little bit faster.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Interesting 4th of July 10K

Up the hill to the finish line.
For the 4th of July, I ran a rather tough 10K race. The course description was “moderately difficult”. Having survived the “very difficult” Vestal 20K, I wasn’t that concerned.

The raced started off fine, then quickly  went downhill, literally. I’m terrible at downhill and lost time negotiating a very steep downhill plunge. Many people went flying by me. I guess downhill is something I need to practice, because if I had kept my current pace, I would have been flying too, probably on my face.

The next mile was mostly uphill. No trouble there except that I did slow down a little. Then the race took a turn onto a dirt road. It was well packed so that was no problem as long as I kept my eyes on the road and avoided rocks. Running shoes tend to be very thin-soled.

Then the coursed took a turn onto a bridal trail. Bridal as in horse. This trail was tricky. It was narrow, very rocky, and in places, very wet and muddy. It has been raining for weeks and there were some large muddy puddles on the trail. I followed the runners in front of me and made my way around all the obstacles. I turned my ankle when I stepped wrong to avoid a root, but recovered and kept on going.

After two miles of this madness, the trail dumped back onto a road. The race was part of a day of festivities and the road was packed with traffic. The speed limit was 20, but there was hardly any room on the shoulder of the road. This made passing other runners kind of impossible. When there was a driveway for a gas station, I managed to pass one runner. That was the only break I needed because the next runner was a good 30 seconds ahead of me and I never got any closer.

A half mile from the finish line, I was directed to cross the road when I could. Yeah, right! Seeing a small break in traffic, I sprinted to the other side and risked my life running with the flow of traffic.

The finish line was uphill, of course, and after I made the final turn off the terrible road full of cars, I was ready to end this race and gave it everything I had to cross the finish line.

My time for the 6.28 mile crazy race was 53:37. Not bad really considering the “moderately difficult" course.

Another medal to add to the collection!
After the race I hung around to see some of the vendors and wait for the awards ceremony. I estimated there were around 150 runners in the race and I had no idea how many were in front of me. Turns out, not many. I was second for my age group (40 to 49) and received a second place medal.

My overall place was 38 out of 119.

I guess it was an interesting race. I ran it because it’s one I’ve never run before. I could have done without the mud and big rocks, but the trail part was kind of fun. I guess.

My next race is a 5K on July 13th. It’s a flat
course I know well and my goal is to set a PR. I want to see 23:something on the clock when I cross the finish line. I don’t care if it’s 23:59, just as long as it starts with 23.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hello St. Louis

I really liked this race - hills and all.
A lot catching up to do since my last race. 
I ran the Vestal XX (20K) on June 15th. It was one hilly race, but I did awesome. I was hoping for anything under two hours and finished very strong with a time of 1:50:26. Only a few hills were tough.  The first six miles were the hardest, then it was mostly downhill for the remaining six and a half. No problem at all. I passed a lot of people after mile seven.
Then Monday I boarded a plane for St. Louis, MO for work.  I was hoping to find a 5K race to run on the weekend (today), but really didn’t see anything. I’ve been running in the neighborhood around the hotel in the evenings.  It’s nice out here. Neighborhoods have a speed limit of 20 which is great for runners. The farthest I’ve gone is four miles because shortly after I arrived, a heat wave moved in and it has been over 90 degrees every day.  I have to be at work by 7:30 which leaves no time for a morning run. There are treadmills in the fitness center, but it's summer and I don't want to run inside unless I really have to. A little heat never killed anyone.  Well, maybe that's not true, but I've been keeping my runs to a half hour and try not to go too fast.
Today I am going to be a tourist and have planned a trip to the Arch and the zoo and maybe check out some running stores in the city because I like running stores. I don’t need any running clothes or accessories, but it’s fun to look.
I’m in St. Louis until Thursday and then I get to fly back home.
I really don’t like traveling. I hate flying, rental cars, suitcases, hotels, but I am trying to make the best of it. My rental car is a 2013 Dodge Charger and I was scared to death of it at first, but now I rather like it. That pushbutton start feature is very cool.
Well, got my old running shoes on and I’m off to see the arch. This will probably be my only day for sightseeing (have to work tomorrow) so I’m going to see as much as I can.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Real runner?

The Humane Society 5K race was great. I set a new PR of 24:05. I’ve run this course many times and it’s fairly flat except for two small hills at the very end. I thought I slowed down on the hills, but apparently I did not. I got caught behind some slower runners at the start, but I passed a lot of fast runners (all guys) toward the finish. A time of 23:something is in reach. Wow.

I managed to beat this 15-year-old at the finish line by one second!
Sunday I decided to do a very grueling 12 mile run. I live in the hills now and no matter where I run, there are hills. If I run west, I have some moderate hills. If I run east, I have some monstrous hills. Well, I ran east. And it was hard. I did pretty good for the first six miles. That’s because there was more downhill than uphill. The return trip was the opposite, of course. More uphill than downhill. One of those hills went on for 2.75 miles and qualified as a hillclimb of 3 on MapMyRun. By mile nine, I was exhausted. Halfway up this one hill, I decided to walk and drink the last of my sports drink. I walked for about 30 seconds to give my legs a break, then started running again. My pace on the steep hills was terrible - 12s and 13s. I probably could have walked it faster. At mile 11 it was all downhill and I found some energy to get back to a reasonable 8:30. What a run. My total time was 1:58:55 with an average pace of 9:54.

My reason for running this hilly course was to see if I have any business running the infamous Vestal XX next Saturday. I have waffled back and forth on this race. It is a 20K race and is the toughest race in the area. The first half is mostly uphill and the second half is mostly downhill.

I graduated from Vestal high school and back then, this was a race for “real runners”. It still is. There are no walkers or casual 5K runners in this race. Am I a real runner?

After yesterday’s practice hill run, I compared my course to the Vestal XX course. Guess what? My course was much harder. The Vestal XX doesn’t have a single hillclimb rating and the last half is much easier than the first half. My last half was almost twice as hard as my first half. The Vestal XX is a half mile longer than what I ran, but I should still be able to complete it in under two hours.

The preregistration deadline is June 12th. If I put my application in the mail today, I should be good to go.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Back in the country!

Yesterday was national run day. I managed to get in a 4.2 mile run before the rain started.

I have a new hilly running course to tackle. For the last seven years, I’ve been living in a small apartment in the “city” and sometimes going home to the country on weekends. Well, no more of that city stuff. I’m back in the country to stay. I’m working from a home office now and there’s really no reason for me ever to go to the city again, except to buy food and run in races.

It’s hilly, but I like it. Very little traffic, deer, owls, rabbits, and beautiful views that go on forever. And no, or very little garbage, or people to contend with. No sidewalks, but I can run down the middle of the road if I time it right.

I’ve been wondering how I’d do on the hills and the answer is pretty good. My “end of the road and back” route takes me up a small hill, then up a gradual hill for two miles, then I turn around and run up one steep hill, then downhill all the way until I get near my house and have one last hill to tackle. So far my pace has been around 8:40. I’m happy with that. I have yet to run any big hills, but I’m planning a long run for Sunday and there’s no way I can avoid them.

Tomorrow I have a 5K race. Two small hills at the end. I’ve run the course several times and hope to break 26 minutes. I also hope not to run in the rain. The remains of hurricane Andrea are headed this way. At least it’s summer!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All work and no play

Lousy weather (cold and rainy) and crazy long hours at work have really cut into my running time. Monday I made time to go on a 10-mile run and check out a new running store. The store was closed when I got there, but would hopefully be open on the return trip. My destination was this small, kind of rundown zoo at the top of a hill. I had no intentions of seeing the zoo, just picked it as my turnaround point.

I had 12 ounces of water and was hoping to hit some parks on the way back. It was Memorial Day weekend. The water should be turned on, right? Wrong. Not a working water fountain to be found.

The hill up to the zoo was steep. 1.2 miles of hill. I made it and took a short break while I walked around looking for a water fountain. None to be found. The bathrooms in the little park area outside the zoo were locked. Seriously, what is up with this area?

New running store with WATER!
Then it was time to head back down the hill. I’m not sure which is worse for me, uphill or downhill. Downhill should be easier, but it’s not really. At the bottom of the hill, I swung by the new running store which was open. The owner was happy to see a runner and offered me water. WATER! I looked all around the store. Nice stuff. I don’t need any more running clothes or running gadgets, but I like to look. The store had an Amphipod water belt with four water bottles that I should buy at some point. Summer will arrive and stay eventually and I’m going to need way more than 12 ounces of water for my long runs. And I’ll need new shoes again. The NBs are almost worn out. I thanked the owner for the water and continued my run. I ran along this river walk which is actually quite nice and there were several other runners out enjoying the day. The river walk added a half mile to my run which was fine. I would have liked to have run much farther, but I had too much to do at home.

My next race is June 8th. A 5K to benefit the local humane society. I really need to start pushing myself on short runs if I want to keep my 24 minute finish time. I’d really like to see a 23 minute time for this big race in August. It’s a 5K, but the prize money is good and it attracts a number of elite runners. The finish line is awesome. It’s the kind with a big clock and spectators line it for at least half a mile. And if you’re lucky, the announcer says your name and time as you cross it. Yes, this race has an announcer. How cool is that?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Almost 15 miles

My 5K race on Saturday was good. I finished with a time of 24:34. It was a very flat course that ended on grass. The grass threw my stride off a little, but I finished strong. Any finish time that begins with the number 24 makes me happy. Last year my best 5K time was 26:14.

I think I'm buying one of these
with my next paycheck.


Sunday I decided it was time for a long run. I haven’t run anything over 9 miles since my half marathon. I plotted out a 7.5 mile course that would (or should have) ended with 15 miles if I ran it out and back. I packed my cell phone, $5, my music, and 12 ounces of sports drink. At 3 miles, I passed a park and was really hoping the water fountains were turned on. They were not. That kind of ruined my hydration strategy. 12 ounces was going to have to be enough. 45 minutes into the run, I was thirsty so I took a gulp. After conquering a steep hill, I took another gulp. The temperature was 57 degrees, but it was muggy. By mile 12, I was out of water. If only that park had turned on its water. I guess nothing happens around here until Memorial Day weekend. I managed to run the last three miles with nothing to drink. I knew I wasn’t going to die, but I should have conserved my water a little better. When I reached home, I quickly downed a large glass of sports drink, two glasses of water and a banana. It worked because I felt fine a few hours later. No nausea. Yay!

Somehow my plotted mileage was off just a little. My 15 mile run was actually 14.95 miles. I must have included two trips through the park to get water. There was no reason to run through the park on the way back. Usually I give myself a quarter mile cool-off walk so I’m not sure what happened.

It was a good run. I wasn’t out to break any records. My only goal was to run for 15 miles. And I did. Almost.

Stats:
14.95 miles, 2:20:57 time, 9:25 pace

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Photos from the half marathon

Just after mile 4.

Just after mile 7.

Coming up on mile 13. Look at those legs!

Just over the finish line with a time of 1:53:06!

Praise for 5Ks

Last year I ran almost every local 5K race that I could. It was my incentive to keep running. This year I decided I would pick one or two a month. Races cost money and require scheduling. My weekends are often busy.

This month’s race was the big half marathon that I ran a few weeks ago. That was all I was planning to run for the month of May. I’ve run a bunch of 5Ks. Do I really need to run any more? Can’t I just go run 3.1 miles if I want to? Well, I certainly can, but it’s not the same as being in a race. Even if I try to run at racepace, there’s a certain energy that only comes from being around other runners all trying to do their best. My only real competitor is myself, trying to break a PR or tackle a tough course, but having people in front of and behind me gives me energy that I never find when I’m just out for a run.

There’s a 5K race this Saturday. A fundraiser for scholarships for a local high school and it’s being organized by the local running club (that I am now a member of) who always do an excellent job. The pre-registration deadline has passed, but I can sign up the day of and I think I will.

I’m not really a social person. I don’t enjoy being with large groups of people, but I really enjoy running with them. How strange.

Stats:
24.28 miles for the week of May 6th, average pace: 9:05

Monday, May 6, 2013

Proud member of the sub-two club

I run like a girl.
This was my first half marathon and it was awesome.

I wanted to run it in under 2 hours. And I did: 1:53:06.

I started off fast like I knew I would. I ran the first mile in 7:53. I was just behind the front runners so I really had no choice but to run fast. I ran the second mile in 8:12. A little better, but still a bit fast. Mile three was run in 8:23. Mile four and five were run at a pace of 8:28. I was flying and it felt good. I had all kinds of energy, my legs felt strong, and I was barely breathing heavy. So I just kept running. My slowest pace for the entire race was mile 10 where I dropped to 9:06, but by mile 11, I was at 8:46.

The spectators along the course were fantastic. The held inspirational signs, they cheered, they clapped, they rattled those annoying cowbells. It helped a lot. And fellow runners were supportive as well with “nice race” and “good job” as I passed them. And I passed a lot of people, especially on the hills. Running cemetery hill made these hills seem like nothing.

The worst part was the water stations. I should have carried my sports mix, but I didn’t. The water station volunteers were not good at handing out water and when I tried to find some Powerade, I received a cup with barely a gulp in it. At mile 8, I had to walk to the back of the water table to find cups with Powerade in them and then gulped down four of them. Last thing I needed was for dehydration to set in at mile 12. Having lost at least 20 seconds searching for blue Powerade I quickly rejoined the race and caught up to the runners I had been running with. At mile 10 I ran around the people handing out water and went straight for the table. I grabbed two cups of Powerade and one cup of water, gulped them all down, then took off running. Much better and I only lost about 8 seconds.

Somewhere after mile 6 I lost track of the miles. What I thought was mile 7 was actually mile 8. Not a bad thing at all, but just very strange that I was so into running that I lost an entire mile.

At mile 12 I glanced at my Garmin, did a quick calculation, and realized I was way ahead of schedule. Even if I totally ran out of energy, I could still finish the race in under 2 hours. But I never ran out of energy. A surge of adrenalin kicked in around mile 6, and 8, and 12. When I turned the final corner and saw the finish line, I switched into high gear and gave it everything I had. Just a few feet from the finish line I saw a shadow come up on my right side. Determined not to let that shadow beat me, I went into overdrive. Unfortunately, the shadow belonged to a 34 year old male who beat me by 0.01 seconds.

Next thing I knew a woman was putting a finisher medal around my neck. The race was over.

My husband had been at the finish line with a video camera, but didn’t see me until it was too late. I had told him to start looking for me around 1:55, but most likely I’d be coming down the hill around 1:57. He did manage to see me half way down the hill, but the camera wasn’t on and all he got was my back side crossing the finish line. He did get some nice footage at mile 4 and 6 and a photographer at the finish line hopefully got a nice shot of me and shadowboy. I’ll know tomorrow when the photos are posted.

Today the quads are a little sore, but not bad at all. I'll probably go for a short run tomorrow and then start looking for another half to run. That was fun!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Less than 24 hours to go

I picked up my bib at the race expo. There were a million people there. I quickly browsed through the vendor tables, then got out of the chaos. My number is 686. I like it.

I will be wearing pink shorts with green trim, a safety green singlet (it looks more yellow in the photo), and my black and pink NBers.

The mile markers for the course are up. I walked the last mile to the finish line just to remember where the final turn is. The weather is supposed to be perfect, 50s and sunny in the morning.

It's going to be hard to run slow, but I know I need to slow down after the second mile. I plan on starting towards the front because I can't stand all the jostling and shuffling in the back. It's a chip timed race so runners in the back don't lose any time, but I still don't like it. I usually run a fast first mile no matter what the distance.

I'm starting to have doubts about finishing in under two hours, but should be pretty close to that time. It doesn't really matter. I'm just excited that I know I can run the distance.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just keep running

Just got back from a short 3.42 mile run. I still smile at the thought of anything under four miles seeming short. I wasn’t going to run today, but it’s beautiful outside and I couldn’t resist. I won’t be running tomorrow because tomorrow is rest day. I need to be well rested for Sunday's big race.

Last year at this time I was getting ready for my first 5K race. I had been running since February and I was ready. At the race, I watched the half marathoners come down the hill and cross the finish line (the HM starts at 7:30 and the 5K at 10:00). Some were running as hard as they could and some were just running. I wondered if I would ever be able to run that distance. Well, here I am all ready to run my first half marathon. I like the fact that I’ll be crossing the same finish line and that there will be 5Kers watching me come down that hill, wondering if they will ever be able to complete 13.1 miles. I’d like to tell them that they will indeed. Just keep running.

A year ago, I ran at a pace of around 10:10. Today’s little jog was done at a pace of 8:48. I wasn’t running hard, except for this one short, flat stretch, and had to tackle a few small hills.

I’ve improved a lot in a year. Go me!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shoes matter

May at last and there are flowers everywhere. I think I can safely say spring is here.

Map My Run claims I ran 118 mile for the month of April. I’ve been training hard for the upcoming half marathon (just a few days away)! For my last two runs, I averaged a pace of 8:54 and 8:58. The 8:58 run included some pretty steep hills. I’ve been limiting myself to five miles, but will probably do six either today or tomorrow. I start a mini vacation tomorrow. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be sent somewhere for work and made sure to take time off around the race. I did not want to be flying the day after running 13.1 miles. My legs get sore enough from just sitting on a plane.

I love these shoes!
I’m very happy about this new speed that I seem to be running. I'm not trying to run fast and am quite surprised when I look at my Garmin and see I am cruising along at a pace under 9:00. 9:24 used to be a comfortable running speed. I think much of it has to do with my New Balance shoes that I bought earlier this year. They are AWESOME! So awesome that I bought a second pair a few days ago. I was hoping to get them in a different color (not black and pink), but other colors were already sold out in my size so black and pink it is. The soles show I am hitting with my forefoot and not my heel. The heel is hardly worn at all. I guess shoes really do make a difference. I will definitely be wearing these for the big race.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

One week to go

It’s hard to believe that one week from now my big race will be over and I’ll be back home, doing something mundane like laundry or vacuuming. One week!

Friday I ran up cemetery hill. The last little part to the big mausoleum at the top is always the hardest, but I did it. Then going back down the hill is the second hardest part, but I did that too. May pace for the entire 4.46 mile run was 9:03. That’s pretty good considering I slow way down on hills.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Spring at last? Actually, it feels more like summer. I picked a three mile section of the half marathon to run and added this one hill which used to be really hard for me. It’s probably been four or five months since I’ve run Crestmont hill. My pace alert (10:03) went off just before I crested the hill, but that was it. That hill used to be much steeper. As I was finishing up the run, I decided to run the other side of Crestmont hill which isn’t as steep, but is much longer. Still not so bad. Have I really improved that much? I used to dread that hill. My pace for this 4.08 mile run was 9:00 exactly. Way to go me!

My first goal for the half marathon is to finish. This is my first half marathon and I am both scared and excited. I know I can run the distance, but it will be entirely different doing it with 1,499 other runners. I have never run with this many people before. My second goal is to run it in under two hours. To do this I have to run the entire course with a pace of 9:09 or better. I know I will run the first three miles kind of fast. And I know there is one section I will run kind of slow because it’s long and uphill and my mind will start to wander. Lately I’ve been running under 9:09 without really trying. I’ve been running for over a year now and I guess I’m finally a runner. A nice reward for a lot of hard work.

This is taper down week so I won’t be running anything over six miles, but it’s supposed to be really nice outside so I’ll definitely be running every chance I get.

Stats:
4.46 miles, 40:21 minutes, 9:03 pace (very steep hill run)
4.08 miles, 36:45 minutes, 9:00 pace (training run)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I did it!

Yesterday it was a balmy 62 degrees. I headed to the park determined to run for two hours. I was going to look at the time only on my watch. Of course, I used my 2-mile loop at the park for my run so I pretty much knew how far I’d gone at any point on the trail. Still, it was kind of nice to just run and not be concerned with miles.

I could tell when I had hit mile nine. My quad muscles start to get a little sore after nine. My right calf was also sorta cramping every so often. Usually my left leg gives me all the problems. I slowed down a little to see if the cramp would go away and it did for the most part. I could still run so I did.

At 1:45 I was still moving along pretty good. The legs were a little tired, but I only had 15 more minutes to go. At 1:58 I decided to check out my mileage. I was just under 13 miles. 13 miles! I only had a short distance to go to run a half-marathon distance. With a time of 2:02, I completed 13.14 miles. Yes! Not only am I read for my upcoming half-marathon, but I might be able to run it in under 2 hours. I ran a little fast for miles 1 and 2, but then slowed down for the rest of the run. I was in no way racing. My time also included walking through four water stops. I place a bottle of water on the hood of my car and use it as a water stop so I don’t have to carry water while I run. So far no one has taken it. I keep a bottle in the car just in case.

Today my legs are a tiny bit sore, but I only notice it when I stand up from having sat for too long. Before yesterday, my longest run was 11 miles at which point I injured my hip and had to stop running for almost a week.

The half-marathon is still over a week away, but I’m ready!

Stats:
13.14 miles, 2:02:32 minutes, 9:19 pace

Monday, April 22, 2013

Best 5K ever!

Yesterday I had a 5K race. It was supposed to be 50 degrees by racetime. Guess, what? It wasn’t! It was more like 32 degrees. Brrrrr. I had planned on wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I wound up in spandex and two shirts. Where, oh where is spring? At least it was sunny.

The course was as about as flat as can be along a rail trail. 1.5 miles out, turn around, run back. There were probably close to 200 runners ready to run. A nice turnout for a Sunday afternoon. I saw a lot of familiar faces.

Due to the Boston bombing, frustration at work and some personal issues, I had lots of pent up energy. My last race was a very hilly 15K with an injured hip. The hip is healed  now and I was determined to break my 26:16 record for a 5K. I have also gone back to my old style of running. I’m not an elite runner. I have no business trying to run like one. If you want to run faster, then you need to run faster. That was the running tip going through my head. I’ve always worried about running out of energy at the end so I tend to slow down after the first mile. Not this race. For this race, I was going to run a fast first mile and a second mile and even a third mile. Long stride, hands slightly high, how my body likes to run. I’ve been running long distances with a pretty good pace. 5K should be nothing.

I lined up just behind the front runners. When the race director said Ready, Set, Go! I started running. I ran the first mile in 7:46. That’s really fast for me. Everything felt good, except for the cold air burning my lungs, so I just kept running as fast as I could. Cold air be damned. Mile two was run at a pace of 8:08. There was no way I could keep a pace of 7:46, but 8:08 is still very fast for me. Mile two is where I usually lose speed and runners pass me. Not today. A few young guys managed to get by me, but this time I was passing the slower runners in front of me. With the finish line in sight, I decided to try for a little more speed. As the clock neared, I saw a time of 24:12. Woohoo! Finding all the energy I had left, I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:30.

I’m still waiting on the official results to see how I did overall, but there were a lot of runners coming in behind me.

Good race!

Stats:
3.1 miles, 24:30 minutes, 7:59 pace (yeah!)

Update: Results have finally been posted and I came in 42 out of 131. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Run united for Boston


Group shot taken before the run. I'm in the back behind some tall guy.
I'm the one in yellow. Not sure who
the lady next to me is, but she was
very nice.

On Saturday, I ran with 150 local runners in a United For Boston run. It was a nice run. Way too early in the morning for me, but still nice. And, of course, it was COLD! Enough of this cold weather! I started off running with some marathoners that I didn’t know. Even though it wasn’t a race, people kept passing when they had the chance. Runners want to run their pace. I understood and did the same thing. I eventually wound up with runners I knew. The run was 4.75 miles and it went by quickly. I didn’t bring my Garmin, but we were running along pretty good. I know we ran it in less than 50 minutes. Afterwards there was water and coffee donated by someone. Runners are good to each other. Even though I was hot and sweaty by the end of the run, I needed coffee. Everyone signed a poster and $1,000 was collected and donated to the victims of the Boston attack.

Many people in the run were wearing Boston marathon jackets and finisher medals around their necks. Will I ever be good enough to just finish a marathon?

I've been running for just over a year now. I can still remember the day I ran a mile without stopping. Now I can run 10 miles without stopping. 26.2 miles seems almost impossible at the moment, but so did 13.1 a year ago. In less than 2 weeks, I'll be attempting the impossible.

Stats:
4.75 miles in less than 50 minutes

Friday, April 19, 2013

Faster, faster

Today it’s supposed to hit 70 degrees. It’s also supposed to rain. Figures. If I can get out of work early and it’s not raining, I plan on trying for 12 miles or maybe even 13.1. I’d really like to know I can run the distance without dying at the end. I know I should be able to. All my runner friends claim that if I can run 10 miles, I can run 13 miles. But I’d really like to know this for sure.

The local running group is sponsoring a Boston run tomorrow morning. It’s just a group run, not a race. It will cover 4.75 miles. The run starts at 8:00 a.m. which is way too early for me on a Saturday morning, but I’m going to do it. So far 141 have signed up. That’s a large number for this area. Some races have seen less runners than that. I’m not sure how it’s going to work because the streets won’t be blocked off and 141 runners will have to stay to the sidewalks. Should be interesting. I will be wearing blue track pants and a yellow shirt (Boston colors). It's supposed to be chilly tomorrow, 40s. My shirt is long sleeve. I should be OK.

Sunday I have a 5K race. Actually, I have two I could run in. One is at 9:00 a.m. and the other at 1:00 p.m. I like the course for the morning one, but it’s in the morning. The afternoon race has a rather boring course, but it’s in the afternoon. I will most likely do the afternoon race. I’m not pre-registered for either so it doesn’t really matter. I have yet to run a 5K in under 26 minutes and am going to try to do that on Sunday. The only way to run faster is to run faster. I just read that yesterday. Running fast is also a good way to get injured which I don’t want to do two weeks before my half marathon. I’m not a fast runner and I don’t have a desire to be a fast runner, but a race is a race and I should probably push myself just a little.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just run

Last Friday I ran 10 miles. I on purposely tried to run slow, or slower. I don’t think I will try this again. By the time I got to mile 9, I felt more tired than I normally do. My legs don’t like to run slow. And they don’t like taking small steps. When I downloaded my Garmin, I was not surprised to see some very slow times. Yes, I meant to run slow, but my time got slower and slower with each mile.

Stats:
10.2 miles, 1:40:37 minutes, 9:51 pace

On Monday I watched the elite women run the Boston marathon. Most ran in true elite style. Small steps, very little bounce, arms low. Most. A few ran in a rather non-elite style. Yolanda Caballero from Columbia lead the front running pack for many miles. Her stride was rather long, her step was bouncy, and most of the time her hands were clenched and held high. The same could be said of Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal. Even the commentator for race pointed out the ladies’ poor running form. Felix finished 9th with a time of 2:30:05 and Caballero finished 14th with a time of 2:35:10. Neither came even close to winning, but their so called poor running style made me reconsider changing my running style.

I have long legs. It is more comfortable for me to take one long step than two short steps. My arms and shoulders feel better when I hold them just a little bit higher than what is recommended. And as far as trying not to bounce, well, that’s just not going to happen. I’m a heel striker, although my newest pair of shoes indicate I’m not as bad as I used to be and I’m seeing more tread wear in my forefoot than my heel. I'm never going to be one of those gliding runners, but that's OK. I'm still a runner.

Wednesday was a beautiful day. I headed to the park to run for as long as I could before it got too dark. I didn’t think about my steps. I didn’t think about style. I just ran. At 3 miles, I glanced at my watch to see I was running incredibly fast. Had I been running a 5K, I would have had a fantastic time. At 5 miles, I was still flying along pretty good. The hip felt great. No pain in the knees. There were a lot of runners in the park which always helps my motivation. At 6 miles I was still moving pretty good. Had I been running a 10K, I would have had a fantastic time. At mile 7, the trail was starting to get a little dark. I was at a point where I could do another 2-mile loop of the park, or a half mile back to my car. Not being able to run very well in the dark, I chose the short trip back to my car. My legs still felt good and I had plenty of energy.

When I downloaded my stats I was quite happy.

Forget about form. Forget about trying to run like an elite runner. Just run.

Stats:
7.35 miles, 1:05:57 minutes, 8:58 pace

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shattered dreams

It’s hard to know what to say today. Yesterday I was watching the Boston Marathon on my computer and thinking how remarkable technology is sometimes. A few hours later bombs were going off thanks to the same remarkable technology. Anything used for good can also be used for evil.

I went for a short run yesterday evening. As I headed down a sidewalk, another runner approached me. Usually we move over for each other. This guy seemed to be coming right at me. As we got closer, he raised his hand in a high-five gesture. Cool. I high-fived him back. Then he said, “Run safe!” “You too,” I replied.

Runners are good people. We all feel for each other. When we see someone struggling to get to the finish line, we don’t make fun of them. We encourage them. We remember what it was like. When we hear someone broke a personal record at a race, we are happy for them, not jealous. In races, we compete against each other, but we are really only competing against ourselves. There are runners who will always be faster than me. There are runners who will always be slower than me. It doesn’t matter. We’re all runners. Running for our own reasons.

Yesterday was horrible. The scenes on the TV were horrible. I knew people who were in this race. I knew people who were on the sidewalks cheering them on. That runner knocked to the ground by the blast could have been me. The injured people being taken away on stretchers could have been my husband or my friends.

People died yesterday. Dreams shattered yesterday.

And I don’t know why.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston

I'm am watching the news and I am in tears. I can't believe this has happened.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

To walk or not to walk?

Week after week of cold, dreary weather. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

Friday I got in a 9.1 mile run. There was hardly anyone in the park. Big surprise. I didn’t even want to be there, but the half marathon is three weeks away and I need to run.

If the sun ever comes out today, I’m going for a slow 10 mile run. I need to slow down a little so I’ll still have some energy for the end of the race. I have a hard time running slow in the beginning. My legs just want to run. Then by mile 7, I’m starting to get tired.

I have decided I will be walking through the water stops at the half marathon. I can easily make up the 5 to 10 seconds I’ll lose and my legs might appreciate the short rest. Trying to run and drink out of a tiny cup is hard for me. I've been stressing over the water stops for weeks now. I know I need drink water or a sports drink around 45 minutes and then every 10 to 15 minutes after to avoid dehydration at the end. I really don't want to carry water. So I will proudly walk through the water stops. There. No more stressing. My goal is to finish. And if I happen to finish in under 2:20, that would be awesome.

Boston Marathon tomorrow! And there's live streaming. Hopefully I can watch it while I work.

Stats:
9.12 miles, 1:25:51 minutes, 9:25 pace

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The hills of York, PA

I managed to get in a 3.6 mile run just before sundown. I had planned to run up the hill across from the hotel and then do loops around the housing community so I would never be too far away and lost in the dark. Well, I did that for a little while, then I was curious to see where this road went. The hillside is terraced with some beautiful homes that got more beautiful the higher up I ran. The road curved up, then down and I ended up this small town about a half mile from the hotel. By then it was starting to get dark and the fastest way back to the hotel was on the main road. Luckily, traffic was light and there was a wide shoulder along the side of the road.

The roads here are nice. No potholes or rough spots and very little traffic in the hills. I ran down the middle of the road for most of my run in the housing area. And it was a lovely 75 degrees. I wore shorts and a very lightweight singlet.

When I got back to my room, I was very pleased with the download from my Garmin. Mile one was run in 9:14. This was mostly uphill. Mile two was run in 9:04. Mile three was back to 9:14. This was mostly downhill. I’m not very good at downhill. The last 0.64 miles were run at a pace of 8:47. I was a little nervous being on a main road with the sun almost down and really picked up the pace to get back to the hotel. The road was also very flat.

Hip update – not even a twinge.

Tomorrow I head for home and doubt I’ll have time for a run by the time I get back.

Stats:
3.64 miles, 33:11 minutes, 9:07 pace

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring

Spring at last, at least where I am. Today I had to travel south to York, PA for work. I have a meeting with customers tomorrow. When I got here it was 79 degrees. My hotel is in a residential area and I really hoped I’d be able to get in an outdoor run, but dinner with co-workers lasted too long so I had to settle for the hotel treadmill. Tomorrow is probably going to be the same. Perfect weather and I still wind up on a treadmill.

Last week I managed to run a total of 26.49 miles. Got in a 7.05 mile run on Thursday and a very windy 8.15 run on Friday. The wind was insane. I hope to be up to 10 miles by the end of the week, but this trip is really getting in the way of my training. I’ll be heading back on Wednesday, but won’t be able to get in a long run until Friday or Saturday. The good thing about my last two runs is that the hip held up. Just a tiny bit of tightness in the final mile and hardly any discomfort the following day. I don’t want to say it’s healed, but it’s definitely much better. Sunday I tried a shorter, but faster run. It was still windy, but not so bad that I was being pushed backwards. I averaged a pace of 9:12. I actually thought I was doing a little better than that, but the wind never let up.

Stats:
7.05 miles, 1:06:32 minutes, 9:26 pace
8.15 miles, 1:17:25 minutes, 9:29 pace
3.78 miles, 34:48 minutes, 9:12 pace

Friday, April 5, 2013

Good run

The temperature was 47 degrees. Not 50 as predicted, but close enough. I jumped in the car and headed to my favorite park. So had a million other people. The park was packed. There were runners, walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, rollerbladers and just people everywhere. I had to park on the back side of the park. It didn’t matter. I was ready for a run in the sun.

As all runners know, there are good running days and bad running days. This was a good running day. Only one layer of running clothes, not three, no gloves, my new super lightweight shoes and some new tunes on my mp3 player.

I ran a rather fast first mile, then slowed down a little. I was just out for a run, not a race, although there were enough runners on the trails to make it feel like a race. At mile 4, the troublesome hip felt a little tight, but there was no pain. That gave me the motivation to up the pace a little. I had set out to run 7 miles and at 7.05 miles, I slowed down to a shuffle and then walked back to my car. The hip still felt pretty good.

Today I’ll be heading back to the park for an 8 mile run. Each day a little father, but only a little. When I hit 10 miles, I will up the distance by half miles and not whole miles like I did before. I should be able to make 14 miles by the end of the month. And then it’s just a week until the big race - 13.1 miles. Can I do it?

Stats:
7.05 miles, 1:06 minutes, 9:25 pace

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Brrrrrrr

Still ridiculously cold. Monday it was 34 degrees and windy. I managed to get in a 5.2 mile run and some grocery shopping. Not at the same time. Today it was 35 degrees and even windier. I did a 6 mile run and felt pretty good despite the horrible weather. There were spots where the wind was so strong I could barely move forward.

The hip gets a little sore around the 4 mile point, but not so bad that I can’t run. I did a few small hills today, but decided not to tackle cemetery hill. The half marathon is one month away and I need all my joints healthy and working by then. I do about 15 minutes worth of knee and hip exercises every evening and bought a foam roller to try to loosen up the IT band. I can’t tell if the foam roller is doing anything or not. Mostly it just hurts the spots that already hurt.

Tomorrow the forecast is for 50 and sunny. I hope I can get out of work early enough to head to the park and get in a 7 mile run.

Stats:
5.26 miles, 50:39 minutes, 9:37 pace
6.03 miles, 56:49 minutes, 9:25 pace (that's more like it)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slow and steady

Saturday - beautiful sunny day, 48 degrees. Still a bit chilly, but at least starting to feel a little like spring. I stretched out the poor hip muscles and headed out for a slow run. The first mile hurt a little, but not too bad. For the second mile, I slowed down and tried to concentrate on my form. I’m trying to shorten my stride, lift my knees less, and lean forward ever so slightly. I was only planning on running two miles, but the hip was feeling OK, so I did another slow mile. I wound up at my favorite cemetery and walked to the top. It felt strange not to be running up the hill. Then I walked slowly down. At the bottom, I decided to try another short run. I managed 2.2 slow miles, then thought I might be pushing my luck and walked the rest of the way home. I got cold quickly once I stopped running. 48 is not warm when you're wearing one thin layer of running clothes.

Today the hip is just a little sore. Being Easter, I had lunch with family and then it started raining. If tomorrow is nice at all, I’m going to try for four miles. I’m anxious to get back to where I was before this annoying hip pain began. Of course where I was is what caused the hip pain. Going too far too fast. Slow and steady won't win a race, but it's better than not running at all.

Stats:
3.03 miles, 29:06 minutes, 9:36 pace
2.23 miles, 22:34 minutes, 10:07 pace (ugh)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Injury Update

The hip still hurts. I tried to run a little yesterday, but it just hurt too much and I don't want to undo whatever healing has taken place. From what I’ve read, I do believe I have bursitis. The IT band is putting pressure on the trochanteric bursa which is inflamed and irritated and it all just hurts. I’ve been resting and stretching and even bought a foam roller to try to massage the stupid IT band. Each day it gets a little better, but I'm worried about time slipping away. My half marathon race is May 5. That only leaves me a month to train. And at the moment, I'm not training at all.

In my research on running related hip injuries, I found an excellent website: Running Injury Oracle. If you don't have a Word Press account, you'll have to sign up. It only takes a few seconds. You can search on what hurts and then follow the advice which has all kinds of great videos to go with it. It's a UK site so the narrator has a wonderful accent. I've been following the videos and the advice. I really like this website. It also gives tips on form and running.

Today I am going to try a short walk/run. Walk for a minute, run for a minute, repeat.

Injuries are frustrating. Running the 15K with an injured hip was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done, but I really wanted to run that race.

My next race is April 28th. It's a 5K and hopefully I'll be healed by then.

Monday, March 25, 2013

40th Annual Chenango Forks XV

Somewhere near mile 3 where it was
actually flat.
Chenango Forks is a small, rural town in upstate NY and home to the ever popular Forks XV. Yesterday was the 40th running of the 15K race.

The race is organized by the Triple Cities Runners Club. They always do an excellent job of holding a race. From the registration, to the timing, to posting the results, everything runs smoothly.

I was a little nervous about running this race. A nagging hip injury has kept me from anything longer than 8 slow miles. 15K is 9.3 miles and I knew there was a killer hill at the end. My first fear was that I wouldn’t be able to finish. My second fear was that I’d have to walk the dreaded hill.

The race starts and finishes at the high school. I got there with plenty of time to warm up, got my bib number and shirt, and then did plenty of stretching. The hip was a little sore, but I was ready to run. There were a lot of runners. A lot of good runners. A 15K race tends to weed out the slower runners. No one really wants to be running for over two hours.

There was an early start for anyone who couldn’t finish the race in 1:45. I wasn’t even tempted. I was quite sure I could finish in 1:30. Assuming I finished.

When it was time for the start, I saw just how many runners there were. 300 maybe? That was more than I was expecting. Although cold, probably 38 degrees, it was sunny and actually a beautiful day. Everyone was anxious to run.

I'm somewhere in the middle of all this. What a crazy start.
I took a spot near the middle of the pack. Usually I line up just behind the front runners, but this was a long race and I didn’t want to run the first mile too fast. Turns out it didn’t matter. I got swept away by the wave of anxious runners and did everything I could not to step on someone or get stepped on. After a few minutes the chaos of the start was over and everyone found their place. I was running faster than I wanted, but had no desire to slow down. The hip felt fine and I was running a race.

The course was mostly through the country. The roads were not blocked off, but there was very little traffic and a wide shoulder. Cars were very good about slowing down and pulling over for runners. There were a lot of fans along the course, people waving, playing music, holding signs. It was nice.

The course was described as mostly flat with a horrible hill at the end. To me, mostly flat means no hills or just some slight hills. At mile two, I had already encountered a few hills. They weren’t steep, but they were hills. At mile three, there was another hill. At mile four, yet another hill. I was starting to see a pattern. This course was nothing but hills! I don’t hate hills, but I lose time on them. I can’t maintain the speed that I have on flat sections. At mile six, a large group passed me on yet another hill. I tried to increase my pace a little, but the hip was starting to hurt. Two young girls in bright green shirts flew by me like there was no hill at all.

I had brought water with me for this race. In the past, I have suffered from dehydration and a lack of energy at anything over an hour. At 45 minutes, I took a big gulp. At 55 minutes another gulp. There were water stops on the course, but I find they slow me down too much and I made a homemade sports drink to keep my glycogen and sodium levels up.

At mile seven, the hip was making itself known, but was no worse than it had been at mile six. The hills were not helping, and the downhill runs were actually more painful than the uphill runs. I had just over three miles to go.

There was a water stop at mile 7.7 and even though I didn’t stop, I head the lady manning the stop say, “Just that last big hill to go. You’re almost there.”

I looked up ahead and there it was. The killer hill. I’ve been running practice hills all winter. A local cemetery has a huge hill which I try to run a few times a week. This hill I was about to climb was probably just as steep as the cemetery hill. Part of my brain was saying, “OMG, look at that hill.” Another part was saying, “Oh look, another hill. What a surprise.

I switched into steep hill mode and started up the hill. Steep hill mode means going up on my toes and taking tiny little steps as fast as my legs will go. “Baby-steps, baby-steps, baby-steps.” Had there not been runners around me, I would have started chanting this. Half way up the hill, people were walking. And a little farther up, I saw the green shirt girls off to the side walking. I passed them by with my crazy little baby-steps. Then I passed this big guy in a USMC shirt. He was soaked in sweat and dying. I passed a few more people who had passed me by at mile six. I was feeling pretty good.

The end is near.
The hill kept going and so did I. More people were walking, but not me. Those silly little baby-steps were working. Then finally the hill was over and there was a half mile to go. I could see the turn into the high school parking lot. There were two runners in front of me. At mile nine, I passed them both. Just 0.3 miles to go.

The course snaked around the front of the school and then disappeared around the side. There was no one in front of me and I couldn’t hear anyone behind me. It was a strange feeling. As I turned the corner of the school, there was finish line and a few runners I knew were there cheering me on. The clock read 1:28:24. It was time to give it everything I had left. I went to switch into finish line mode and a searing pain tore through my hip. It was so bad I could only take a few steps. I had forgotten all about the injured hip until now. I went back into normal run mode and crossed the finish line - 1:28:52.

I had run the entire Forks XV.

Stats:
9.3 miles, 1:28:52 minutes, 9:33 pace

(215/288 for all finishers, 5/11 for my age group, 69/117 for all women)



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ready for a 15K?

15K here I come.
Tomorrow is the big race. 15K or 9.3 miles. This will be the longest race I have ever run. I’m a little nervous. I tried to run 9 miles on Wednesday and only made it to 7.4. My hip started to hurt and my legs felt rubbery. On Friday I made it to 8.2, but stopped when the hip pain flared up and both thighs were starting to feel tight. It was very cold both days and I was having a hard time staying motivated. I’ve really had enough of this freezing weather. Two pairs of pants, two layers of socks, three shirts, a hat, a hood, and gloves. I must be carrying an extra 10 pounds of clothes. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 38. 40 would really be nice just to be out of the 30s.

My longest training run was 11.2 miles. I’m not sure how I managed that. At 6.5 miles, I can feel myself running out of fuel. I have decided I will carry my homemade sports drink for tomorrow’s race. There will be water stops during the race, but water doesn’t seem to be doing it. I’m running out of glycogen and sodium and hitting that infamous wall just after the 1 hour point. I don’t eat a lot of carbs unless I’m running a race. Like tonight, I’ll be having spaghetti for dinner and a bagel with peanut butter for breakfast on Sunday morning. I’ve also been drinking water all day. More than I usually do. Hopefully that will be enough to carry me to the finish line.

This race will be a test to see if I am anywhere near ready to run 13.1 miles in May. If I have trouble completing 9.3, then I may have to make some diet changes. I think my legs and lungs are about as fit as they are going to be. I’ll keep pushing the mileage on my training runs until 10 miles is easy, like 6 miles is now. And I need to get the hip strong again. I’ve been doing exercises, but I probably should do more. Even though I always say my goal is “just to finish”, my real goal is to finish strong. I don’t want to be one of those runners who staggers across the finish line and collapses.

I know I can run a race pace of 9:25 which will give me a finish time of around 1:27. I also know I always run the first 2 miles too fast. And I also know there is 1.5 miles of uphill to the finish which is going to be extra hard with a sore hip. So all I have to do is run smart, drink my water, and stretch out the hip and everything else just before the start of the race. And then just run and pretend I don't see any snow and that the cold wind isn't stinging my face.

Stats:
7.46 miles, 1:11 minutes, 9:35 pace
8.23 miles, 1:19 minutes, 9:41 pace

Monday, March 18, 2013

Goodbye old shoes

Finally feeling good enough to run and what happens? Snow. Snow, snow, snow. Four to seven inches by morning. I had to settle for three slow miles on the treadmill.

Today I threw out some old friends. These Avias were my first pair of running shoes. I ran my first 5K in them. But I can only have so many pairs of old, worn out, running shoes lying around, so in the trash they went. As you can see, I’m a heel striker. I always wear my heels out first. I would like to be a forefoot runner, but it’s just not how I’m built.

My next race is on the 24th which is this Sunday. It’s a 15K and fairly flat until the last mile and half which is uphill. I hope it’s at least in the 40s and all the snow is gone by then. I really am sick of the cold and snow. It's March. Where is spring?

And speaking of sick, my problem was severe eye strain which was causing migraine headaches and weird flu-like symptoms. I sit in front of a computer all day at work. I want to get my work done so I sit and work, and work and work. The cure is to take a break every 20 minutes, get away from the computer at the first sign of a headache and reduce stress. Only a slight headache at the end of the day so I guess it's working.

Stats:
3.0 miles,  29:14 minutes, 9:45 pace

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Double ugh

I thought it was nice out and I thought I was feeling better. Neither were true. The wind was cold and a half mile into my run, it started to snow. That hard, pellety kind of snow. Yuck. But I kept going. I ran my first mile in 9:32. I was just trying to run. At mile two, my hip started to hurt and the headache behind my eyes made itself known. I ran my second mile in 9:54. I was wearing my new New Balance sneakers and something wasn’t feeling right in the right foot. At 2.58 miles I started wheezing. I have a slight case of emphysema thanks to 16 years of breathing second hand smoke. When I’m tired or nor feeling well, it kicks in. Time to stop. This was no fun at all. I walked the last half mile home. Because I was sweating and no longer running, I started to shiver. Could it get any worse?

After a hot shower, I downloaded my pitiful stats. Wow.

The fever and chills from earlier in the week are gone, but I still have a throbbing ache in my head. It’s been so long since I’ve had a migraine that I don’t remember how long it takes to recover. And it could still be a bug of some kind. I haven’t slept well since last Friday and don’t think I got any sleep at all last night. I was kind of a zombie at work today.

I’m actually thinking of going over to this health food place to find some kind of natural sleep aid. No way can I go another night without sleep.

I’m not thinking about the race on Saturday at all. If I don’t feel well Saturday morning, there’s no point in running.

I ran such a great race last Saturday and now I don’t know if I’ll even be able to get out of bed. Very disappointing.

Stats:
2.58 miles, 25:27 minutes, 9:51 pace