Monday, June 30, 2008

Not much to say...

Guess I haven't been really motivated to write much of anything lately, which is silly with everything that's going on.

Anyway, here's last week:

Monday: Planned rest. Walked 3 miles

Tuesday: 1.5 miles w/Kona, 9:54 pace, avg HR 179 (77%). Walked 3 miles.

Wednesday: 1.8 miles, 9:25 pace, avg HR 174 (73%) - I ran to the store with an empty backpack and home with a full one. It was weird. Walked 3.

Thursday: Unplanned rest: Drank 2 caffeinated sodas at work after giving up caffeine since December - I felt like my heart would explode if I ran. Walked 1.5 miles.

Friday: 3.5 miles w/Kona, 9:21 pace, avg HR 174 (73%). We got rained on about half the time, which was EXCELLENT.

Saturday: Planned rest, walked 3 miles.

Sunday: 3.5 miles alone, 10:24 pace, avg HR 186 (81%). Exact same route as Friday, but about 10* warmer and oh so sunny. I couldn't keep my HR down for anything.

Total: 10.3 miles run, 13.5 walked.

Stress is wearing me down - I'm exhausted. But, it's that time to just keep going and make it to Michigan, and then I'll have a couple weeks off.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting back to it

Last week was my first real week running again, after the 3 (almost 4) week layoff for that hip business. It went pretty well, though the short distances and slower paces are sort of driving me nuts. Anyway, I did 5.8 miles over 3 days of running, and will add a 4th day back this week to get over 10 miles. I figure I'll be back up to my pre-injury volume in another 2 weeks, and then I can start building back up again. I really wanted to be at 40 mpw by fall, but knowing how much I hate the summer, I might be happy to chill around 30 mpw until we get to Michigan.

And now the question is - to run, or not to run, the 4 on the 4th?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Catching up

Once again, it's been a while since my last post - and a lot has changed! Since the Coach Bubba 20k I've also raced a 5k (huge new PR), a sprint triathlon (report belatedly posted below), and a trail 8k (report also below). Through all that racing my weekly mileage fell steadily - proof that if one's goal is base-building, one should not race monthly!

Just a couple days before the RLAG 8k I started noticing a pain in my left groin, that felt as if something was being pinched, and a sort of burning pain was radiating down into my foot. I cut that run short, and hoped I wouldn't have any trouble for the race. The race went off without a hitch, but then that following Tuesday I noticed a different problem. The first couple steps of that run just felt wrong, so I stopped and walked. A few steps into the walking, I felt my left hip pop and it felt like my whole leg sort of shifted, and the strange feeling went away. The rest of that run was fine. Since then, I've had this nagging pain/ache in that hip. At first I thought it was muscular, but as time went on I decided it felt like it was more within the joint. I saw a doctor about it at the end of May, and he thought I might have femoroacetabular impingement, with a labral tear. The only way to fix that, of course, is surgery. So, one MRI Arthrogram and $200 later I found out that it is NOT FAI and I do not need surgery!

That said, I am free to go back to running, however I think I need to adjust my goals for the rest of the year. I was really hoping to run a PR in the half marathon this year, and was looking at the Detroit half for that attempt. I'm sure I could still run it, and I'm sure I could still PR - but thinking about my long term goals, I'm not sure that is the smartest strategy. After 3 weeks completely off running for that hip issue, I need to start back slowly and build up gradually, and that would compromise my training for that race and potentially my long term goals. Instead, I'm thinking of a half in April 2009 or somewhere around there. That gives me plenty of time to build back up from this, build a good base, and get in several weeks of good targeted workouts.

Another Belated Report: RLAG

Run Like a Girl 8k Trail Race: 5/4/08

This is a series of races sponsored by Montrail (and benefiting the HERA foundation) with events held in various cities across the country – it was the first year for the Richmond race. I wanted to do it because let’s face it – that’s a fun name for a race. Also, a couple years ago Doug and I set out on a quest to get me a run like a girl shirt, which led to a hat (Jenn has one too) and really small t-shirt, and eventually this race!

My goals were:
1. Have fun
2. Finish
3. PR (current PR was 51:05, from a road race on Thanksgiving Day 2007)

Lately I haven’t been running trails, really. I’ve been running a “trail” near the new apartment, but it is very nicely groomed and mostly gravel. The only challenging thing about it is the hills, which have seriously slowed my daily run pace leaving me with no idea of how fast I can actually run. I had no idea what the race course would be like, so my primary aim was just to enjoy myself.

We drove up to the Richmond area Saturday afternoon to camp that night, and told Kona it was her birthday trip (she turned 2 on 5/5). I had planned to pick up my packet at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports on the way in that afternoon…but never looked up directions of how to get there. I had the address and phone number, and while we could have called the shop, we decided to just try and figure it out instead. Well…we got sort of lost. Not terribly lost, though, and did eventually find the shop – and a Chipotle for dinner! After dinner we successfully found our way to the park, checked in, and set up our campsite. Then we took a little walk around the campground and marveled over the NASCAR compounds set up throughout – all the fancy RVs and satellite dishes and banners, it was nuts. A lot of the campsites were empty, so we figured people were actually at the race. After we ran out of daylight and got in the tent, Doug and Kona fell right asleep, and I laid awake and listened to them both snore. For hours. Around 11:30 is started to rain and I stressed over that since our rain fly doesn’t cover the whole tent...and then it stopped…and then started again a little after 12 so I stressed some more. Then, shortly after 2 AM, the people at the neighboring campsite got “home” from the race. And they were drunk. And loud. And they continued being drunk and loud until 4 AM. Once they finally quieted down I was finally able to sleep, so I wound up with about 3 hours of sleep that night.

Sunday morning I got up and went through my pre-race rituals while Doug ran back into town to get batteries for the camera. While he was gone I packed up the campsite, and when he got back we loaded it all in the car and headed to the start. We checked out sponsor tents and milled around until the start, and then finally they told us all to line up and did the pre-race announcements. The race started with a big loop on a grassy field, and then over a bridge and into the woods. It was seriously crowded at the start, but once we got into the woods there was a pretty large hill that started spreading people out. I heard someone yell out the one mile mark and checked my watch – 9:29. At that point it was still pretty crowded, but with each additional hill the field got more and more spread out. After the first aid station (wherever that was) I finally felt like I wasn’t constantly dodging people. The trail was moderately hilly, and not very technical at all, so it turns out the trail I’ve been running prepared me pretty well!

The trail wasn’t marked with mile markers and I never heard anyone yell out another after that first mile, so most of the time I really didn’t know where I was. When I hit the second aid station I knew that was between miles 3 and 4, and not long afterwards I saw the 1 mile to go sign, which the race director had suggested was actually more like 1.25 to go. From that point it was mostly downhill. I was in a group when we ran past a sign that said “boat ramp .3 miles” and we wondered whether that was all we had left to go, and then one of the girls right in front of me fell. She was ok, and we all kept going. Maybe 2 minutes after that I could hear the crowd, checked my watch, and saw that I got another big PR! Down a little hill, smile at Doug and Kona, over the bridge, and to the finish!

Watch time: 46:15 – almost a 5 minute PR!

And with that….I’m done racing until Fall – I think.

A Belated Report: Tri Roanoke Valley

Back in 2004 I decided to attempt a triathlon – and failed miserably. My training was mediocre and I panicked during the swim and dropped out. I still had a good time watching the race and was inspired to try another, but each season came and went and I just never did. A few months ago I was in Fleet Feet and saw a brochure for the Tri Roanoke Valley Sprint Triathlon – held in the town where my parents grew up and grandmother still lives. I decided there was no way I’d be ready by April 12th…and over the course of the next few days somehow talked myself into doing it anyway.

However, this year I really wanted to focus on running and base building, so I told myself I was only doing the tri if I didn’t let training for that interfere with my running. I did ok with that for a while, but eventually I had to cut my mileage back because it was just too tiring. Training for all 3 events is clearly not something I enjoy, and I wound up not spending nearly as much time in the pool and on the bike as I really should have. I’m a good swimmer naturally, but with what happened at the last race I was still worried about it. As far as the bike was concerned, I knew I could cover the distance and that was fine with me.

My main goal for this race was to finish – I didn’t care about my time or my place, I just wanted to get through it and get a little revenge after last time. I had estimated that the 300yd swim would take about 5:20, 14.8 bike would be about an hour, and 5k run would be about 30 minutes, figuring my legs would be tired by then. So, with transitions included that had me coming in around 1:40 or so.

Saturday morning I got up and had a peanut butter bagel and cup of coffee, and then got dressed, put air in my bike tires, and headed off to the race site. It was already 68* out when I left the house at 6:45. I arrived at the site right around 7 AM and went off to the body marking table. After getting all marked up I headed back to my car to retrieve my bike and transition stuff…and couldn’t get my bike off the roof rack! The ratchety-thingy, whatever that’s called, wouldn’t let go and I couldn’t free my back wheel. Fortunately, a very nice man in the parking lot helped me and we managed to get it off. Whew! Then I headed over and got my transition area all set up. Once that was ready I wandered into the aquatic center and checked that out, then went back outside for the pre-race meeting. Up to this point I had been wearing my tri shorts and sports bra, with a long sleeved shirt on top. They informed us that the transition area was being closed at 7:30, so once we left it for the meeting we couldn’t go back in. I felt so naked standing around for 30 minutes without my long sleeved shirt! At this point I was really starting to get nervous, and a guy standing near me, who turned out to be #13 (I was #12) was very nice and distracted me for a while. Our race numbers were assigned in the order of our swim starts, which meant I had submitted the 12th fastest time, and obviously #13 was right behind me. Chatting while waiting in line to start the swim, we discovered we had registered with the same time, and I really wanted to just ask if he could start in front of me because knowing we were so close made me nervous. Also, thanks to having our ages written on our legs, I noticed #11 was only 14! Nothing like knowing for sure a 14 year old is going to kick your ass.

For the swim, we started in order, every 15 seconds. When it was my turn I hopped in the pool and pushed off, and the first lap went fine. Changing under the lane line went fine. Then halfway through the second lap, my chest tightened up and I couldn’t breathe, just like last time. I foolishly tried to stick to my every 4th stroke breathing pattern, and kept getting water up my nose. I tried a couple strokes of breast stroke, which didn’t work, and #13 caught me – and he wouldn’t pass! I had to practically stop in the lane to get him to pass me. Once he finally did, though, I was able to calm myself down and made it through by breathing more frequently. I think just knowing he was right behind me was too much pressure – once he passed, I had a huge amount of space between myself and the next person in line. I finally made it to the end, hopped out of the pool, and started running to the transition area. Lately I’ve been getting dizzy when I get out of the pool, but fortunately that didn’t happen and I was able to run that distance without a problem. The transition went rather smoothly…although apparently slowly.

Swim time: 5:55 (predicted was 5:20 – oh well) (rank 15)
T1: 2:13

The bike course was pretty challenging, as advertised. The first few miles went through the “city” complete with a railroad crossing and the possibility of encountering a train – turns out the train people don’t really care about little local tris, go figure. Then the course turns onto a country road through farms and wide open space, up and down and up and down, over Lake Roanoke Rapids (or RR Lake, I can’t remember), up to a turn around and back over the same course. This part went a lot better than I expected – I passed 4 people or so, and was passed by more than I could count – but, they all had fancy bikes and looked like they had done this before so I didn’t let it bother me. I was only passed by one woman, and took note that she wasn’t in my age group. After about 11 miles I hit a big hill and was feeling sorry for myself, and then thought about my friend Terry doing Ironman AZ and told myself to stop whining and get on with it. I wound up averaging 15.8 mph on the bike which I was thrilled with, not having trained much at all, especially since all of my training rides were ~14 mph. The bike -> run transition went relatively smoothly. I hadn’t pinned my race # to my shirt before the race because I thought it might be annoying on the bike, so I had to do that before the run. Without that, I think it probably would have been a rather speedy transition (comparatively, anyway).

Bike time: 56:22 (rank 29)
T2: 1:48

The feeling in my legs when I took off for the run was too weird. I had done a few bricks so I thought I knew what to expect, but I guess since the bike was faster than usual it was different. I felt like I was going slow, but my legs were tired, and my breathing was pretty heavy so I had no idea how fast I was going. This was a really hilly course, most of which I had run before on previous visits, so I was somewhat familiar with it. The whole run course went through a residential area, so even though the roads were open I think I only saw 2 cars. After some decent hills, the first of which I walked, we ran down a super steep hill to the first aid station, and then did a loop on River Rd, which is, go figure, right along the river. Unfortunately, it’s so developed it’s hard to actually see the river. Right about this time my legs started to feel somewhat normal again. Almost at the halfway point, I saw #13 again and yelled some encouragement to him. Somewhere along here I also saw the 14 year-old girl and another woman (a quick head swivel told me she was 32 – sweet). At the cul-de-sac at the end of the road we had to turn around and run to the opposite end, then turn around again and head back up the super steep hill. Just before the hill I caught and passed #13 and felt pretty good about it, because of the swim thing. I walked up that hill, and then managed to run the rest of the way back to the finish. When I could see the rec center I checked my watch and saw I was about 5 minutes ahead of my 30 minute goal, so I just tried to hold the pace I was running through the finish. I was so happy to be finished I forgot to look at the clock! I had timed the bike and run, but really had no idea at that point how long the swim had taken.

Run time: 28:50 (9:18 pace, rank 22)
Total time: 1:35:12

So, I got my little finishers medal and had my picture taken in front of the finisher board, and then walked over to where my aunt was standing and she said she was pretty sure I had gotten first in my age group. I thought so too, but wasn’t convinced because of the staggered swim start – turns out, I did! It’s nuts – two weeks ago I was hoping and praying to break 30 min in my 5k, this weekend I did that after two other events! Coupled with completing the bike so much faster than I expected, it made the disappointing swim feel a little less awful.


1st in age group
5th woman
22nd overall

Obviously I’m super excited by my results, but really all I wanted to do was finish. I did that, a little faster than I hoped, and got hardware as icing on the cake 

Thanks for reading!