Thursday, June 27, 2013

Three Things Thursday (Run Club Edition!)

It's no secret that I adore going to run club, even when I'm on a run hiatus. Last night might have been the best one I've ever been to.

1. Brooks was the vendor of the evening. I got to try the Ghosts (which I didn't like) and just for trying, I got a sweet new towel.
2. There was apparently a cupcake contest!! I vaguely remember hearing about it last week, but since I don't cook AND I'm the laziest human ever, I figured I could just help consume the cupcakes. This was the best cupcake I have ever had in my life (could I be biased since it's been 8 weeks since I had one?)
 
Maple. Bacon. French Toast. Cupcake



3. There was also a keg of beer... New Belgium Sunshine Wheat. Oh man... it was tasty.

I also ran a couple miles, but since it was 95 degrees, that was probably the low point of the evening.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Where My Fitness (Or Lack Thereof) Is

So the other B challenged me a while back to do a 2 mile time trial in order to start doing some "speed work" in hopes of recovering some of what I've lost in the last few years. I've been putting it off for a long time. Mainly because of the running hiatus, general fatigue, soreness, racing, blah blah blah, I have an excuse for everything.

I wanted to find a nice track to do my run on. Apparently all the tracks near me are crap. First, A and I headed to the high school. We quickly nixed that location since there seemed to be some sort of Little League football practice happening. Drove down the street to the middle school and it was deserted.

I *KNOW* I am slower. However, I had it in my head that I could get this run done. I texted Heather my goals:

1. Don't die
2. Don't puke
3. Finish under 21-22 minutes (What)

So. Even though it was a balmy 88 degrees, there was a slight breeze and it was sort of overcast. So... I am horrified even typing this. The first 3 loops or so went ok, I wasn't looking at my watch so I wasn't sure of effort. Everything felt ok. Then the leg fatigue and cramping started. For the next 2-3 loops I took walk breaks. I WALKED IN A TIME TRIAL. WTF, ME?? Somewhere around the 6th loop I started jogging/running and I managed at least the last half mile or so without any additional walking. I'm shocked and sad at how awful an actual attempt at speed work actually went. 2 miles done in 21:58. I crashed and burned, the first mile (even with walking) was 10:37 and the second was about 11:21. That is an average of an 11 minute mile. AS SPEED WORK. How on earth did I ever run sub 2 half marathons??



So. THAT was discouraging. A leaves this weekend for her visit with her Dad in Texas, so I promised her one last bike ride before she leaves. I may only cycle once a week (our average ride is about 2 miles), but I just LOVE my "Ride Colorful Colorado" Pearl Izumi bike jersey.

I (idiotically) decided to round out my workout for the day by doing yet another one of those Fitness Blender videos that Kim is trying to kill us with. (Why? Why do you hate us??) I barely made it through both rounds. This 39 minute barre workout is NO JOKE.


And then, I could barely get out of bed this morning. HOW HAVE I NEVER EXERCISED SO MANY MUSCLE GROUPS EVER???
Once I get past the nearly dying part of doing these videos I'm pretty happy that I have tried them. OBVIOUSLY I need some strength training. Anyone else tried this one? Was it hard? Am I just the weakest person on Earth?

Thoughts:
  • I really have my work cut out for me if I am going to work on this whole "speed" thing. I'm not going to lie. I am super discouraged already. But I guess there's pretty much nowhere to go but up?
  • I am going to try to find a new route for A and I to ride by the time she gets back. There has to be a safe way to get to the bike path a few miles down the road.
  • I am going to try to do at least a few of these (horrible and rotten) Fitness Blender videos every week. If nothing else, it gives me some variety to my workouts.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

#NotEatingAllTheThings (Week 8)

Week 1 Recap Here
Week 2 Recap Here
Week 3 Recap Here
Week 4 Recap Here
Week 5 Recap Here
Week 6 Recap Here
Week 7 Recap Here

A bit nervous for this weigh in since my exercising was at probably the lowest level as it has ever been. Eating was mostly on track during the week but I had some splurges on the weekend. And as per the norm lately, I had a decent amount of (tasty, delicious & wonderful) beer.

Tuesday - Nothing.
Wednesday - Went to run club! First time I attempted to run after Bighorn. The first mile I wanted to die and then I had to walk a BUNCH. Shocked that my pace wasn't even that terrible (for me) - and managed to eek out 3.65 miles.
Thursday - Got to the gym with a lot of extra time. 1.35 mile run on the treadmill (first run on one at the gym since the first week of May). 0.5 mile walk. Turbo kickboxing class. This went ok, but I felt weak and fatigued (shock). Got home and did tank top arms and abs/obliques videos. Most well-rounded workout in AGES.
Friday - Nothing
Saturday - Slacker half marathon
Sunday - Nothing
Monday - Chaos!

I took more rest days than I have in a long time, but I really needed it after Bighorn. Mileage is still really low and I'm still working through some aches and pains.

Weekly loss - 1.2 pounds
Loss since April 30  - 11 pounds!!

Well, I have finally done it!! I passed my 10 pound barrier that I was pretty sure I was never going to hit again!
So... what now? Well, I 10-15 was the goal, so I think I will keep this up for another 2 weeks. I am definitely noticing a difference in how my clothes fit, and that was the main reason for this whole experiment in the first place.

Additional thoughts:
  • Now that I have most of my weekends of racing out of the way, I finally have ZERO excuse to get out there and do what I have been saying I would do for a LONG time. I plan to follow the other B's advice and do some speed work.
  • Related: I would really really like to get down to a 2:15-2:20 half marathon pace by the end of summer.
  • Related: I would really like to be able to maintain a bit faster pace without feeling like I'm sprinting (11 minute miles should be EASY).
  • Heather and Kim keep finding these terrible exercise videos to try, so I plan on adding at least one to the mix (although not sure about the 39 minute barre one) to get some variety back into my workouts.
  • I am super pleased that I can still enjoy my beer. I have started a new "beer tour" where I am trying new stouts and porters every week. This has been a tasty experiment.
  • As in previous weeks - appetite seems to have diminished, which seems to be the key to this whole experiment being successful. Less hunger = less eating? Who knew.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Slacker Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Georgetown, CO
Saturday, June 22
Half Marathon #86
Colorado Half #26
Weather - Sunny and warm


Back in February, I added the Slacker half marathon to my schedule. I had received a Zozi offer (think Groupon) and it cost only $25! L had run this race before, while I was racing in Russia two years ago. A few things I didn't consider when I signed up for this.
  • How sore I was going to be after running Bighorn 50k the week before. I did NOTHING for three days, and then ran a slow and painful 3.5ish miles on Wednesday.
  • STILL having IT band issues.
  • L saying that even though it is deemed as a "slacker" downhill race, it is NOT and that she was the most sore she'd ever been after running it. Great.
Alarm was set for 4:38 am, although I woke up before that and couldn't get back to sleep. Annoying. I took the time to tape  my knee again (hoping for miracles again), as well as my ankle. Remember when I said I had rolled my ankle during Bighorn? I didn't realize how sore it was until I tried to run on Wednesday. Ouchie.

We left the house at 5:15 and drove to meet Hope so she could ride up with us. Pick up at Lake Georgetown was easy and the view was beautiful.


We cycled through the bathroom lines before getting on the bus that would take us up the road to the starting area at the Loveland ski area.

I was really happy that I had remembered to wear a throwaway sweater, it was in the 40's at the start. Poor Hope was freezing because she hadn't brought one. We had about an hour until the race started, so all we did was cycle through the bathroom lines over and over.

Due to the long lines (and possibly shuttle issues), the race started about 15 minutes late. Annoying, as I know how hot it gets once the sun comes up.

View from the start
No real goals for this race, except of course to not die and to finish. Secret goal of sub 2:30, but it was all going to depend on how my body felt about running another race so soon after Bighorn.

We lined up somewhere around the middle and getting onto the dirt path was a complete cluster. Very crowded! There were some tiny water crossings that we had to cross, and then we got  onto a nice bike path. I was hoping to not have to walk this course and just take things easy. We made it to the first aid station (which was NOT all downhill, there were a few uphills mixed in there) and it just had water.


I made it until somewhere after mile 3 or 4 before I had to take my first walk break. Nothing really HURT, I was just really fatigued and everything below the waist just sort of felt tight and crampy. Saw this pretty tiny waterfall off the side of the course somewhere after mile 4:


We had the luxury of being on the nice, shaded bike path until the first relay exchange which was at mile 5.75. Then we got routed onto the frontage road for I-70. Arguably, that is where the race got pretty tough for me. We lost all the shade that we had and then there was a nice uphill until we got to the next aid station at mile 6.


I don't remember much of the course between miles 6 and 11. The trees were all very green and it was pretty, it was just really hot and I wasn't running nearly as well as I had hoped I would be.


We ran past the Georgetown railroad station and then noticed that we were suddenly up WAY higher than the river. How did that happen? It was right next to us at the start...


We had some really nice downhill until we hit about mile 12. Then we had to exit off the "highway" and run through historic Georgetown to get to the finish. It was a dirt road, it was hot and it was no longer downhill. All hopes of 2:30 down the drain as Hope and I walked probably a half mile until right before we could see the finish:

I think I'm yelling - "we can totally take that chick!"
 

Official Time - 2:33:56
Overall Place - 951/1335
Gender Place - 586/894
Division Place - 110/153
Mile 1 - 11:46
Mile 2 - 10:48
Mile 3 - 11:36
Mile 4 - 11:29
Mile 5 - 11:06
Mile 6 - 10:44
Mile 7 - 12:22
Mile 8 - 11:06
Mile 9 - 11:29
Mile 10 - 11:49
Mile 11 -  11:32
Mile 12 - 10:26
Mile 13 - 10:41
Mile 13.42 - 6:45 (yeah, walking pace...)

L had obviously been done for a while, so once again, we got our awesome finish line pictures! We got some Popsicles and then wandered around looking for the place we got our medals (they give them to you with your shirt and swag at the finish?) 


I slammed part of a beer and then we made sure to get our finisher picture:

INKnBURN Sugar Skull top, Lululemon pace setter skirt, Brooks pure flows (I KNOW).
 It was about a 1.5 mile walk to back where our car was (or you could take a shuttle, but we didn't want to wait).


Thoughts:
  • Don't be fooled into thinking this is an "easy" race, although FOR ME, this did NOT feel as hard as the Georgetown to Idaho Springs race (same concept of running along I-70, but two different starting areas). Two days later and my legs are NOT sore, so I likely didn't really give this my all.
  • I wore my Brooks Pure Flows for the first time on a run in AGES. I know, risky business. I remembered to swap out my insoles for the custom ones I have and they felt fine.
  • Thank goodness for running with Hope! I had forgotten my iPod, so it was nice to have someone's ear to chat off. I have now run enough races sans music that it isn't nearly as big a deal as it used to be, although when I'm alone it can help make those difficult miles more bearable.
  • Aid stations were about every 2 miles, although after mile 8 there was one at mile 9, mile 11, and then a surprise one around mile 12.5. Stopped at EVERY SINGLE ONE and walked longer than I normally do.
  • The first 2 aid stations did not have Gatorade, so plan accordingly.
  • Be sure to bring warmer clothes for the start, it was in the 40's. They do have a bag drop, but I knew once I got done I would not need the warmer clothes, so the throwaway option was better for me.
  • Swag at the end, so know that in advance because there was no one TELLING us that at the end. Long sleeve shirt (unisex size - even the smallest size is huge on me). Fun neon green color this year.
  • Liked the medal - having seen the ones from years past, they really improved on this.
  • They had nice beer at the finish (wish I could remember which brew, but I can't), as well as soda and hot dogs.
  • I likely would not run this one again, unless I got a super sweet deal again to make it super cheap.
  • Not specifically race related, but now that I am winding down on  my planned races for the summer, I really plan on working on (hopefully) getting some strength and endurance back and HOPEFULLY I can pick back up some of my speed I have lost over the last few years. I would love to get back to running a solid 2:10-2:15 race again.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Should I Buy??

Normally I am fairly underwhelmed by race pictures...

However, I'm pretty tempted to buy this one:

Source
This one the background looks good, the colors are pretty sharp, I may or may not look weird:

Source
The proof is so tiny of this one that I can't actually tell if I am smiling or grimacing, but this one looks good:

Source

I can buy "lo res" digital (which they say is "what you see is what you get") for $5 an image, or for $10 I can get a "hi res" digital.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

#NotEatingAllTheThings (Week 7)

Week 1 Recap Here
Week 2 Recap Here
Week 3 Recap Here
Week 4 Recap Here
Week 5 Recap Here
Week 6 Recap Here

Obviously, I was hoping to have another loss on the scale. So close to my initial goal of losing 10 pounds! The food was on track for most of the week, although I pretty much gave myself a free pass on Saturday and Sunday. The downfall this week (again) was some decent beer consumption. It is just so tasty!!

Tuesday - A 2 mile bike ride with A around the neighborhood - SUPER HOT. Also did tank top arms and abs/obliques Fitness Blender videos that Heather sent me. I don't know why she is trying to kill me, I thought we were BFF's :-/
Wednesday - For some reason I got up early and ran on my treadmill again in the basement. 3.33 VERY SLOW miles, but nothing hurt and I didn't die, so that was good. I went to yoga for an hour and learned side crow pose. That was fun.
Thursday - Turbo kickboxing (sub again and she doesn't announce moves very well so that's annoying) and then when I got home I did the tank top arms and abs/obliques videos again. Not quite as hard as the last time.
Friday - Nada. Spent 7 hours in the car driving to Wyoming.
Saturday - Bighorn trail 50k
Sunday - 7 hours in the car driving home. I mowed the lawn. Does that count?
Monday - Was going to try to go to Chaos but was too sore to move so I settled for an Epsom salt bath instead.

I mean, thanks to Bighorn, it looks like I did quite a bit of running. I squeezed in some weight/strength training since I am the weakest human EVER and managed to get an hour of yoga in (which I hadn't done in a few weeks).

Weekly Loss - 0.6 pounds
Loss Since April 30 - 9.8 pounds (oh so close!)

So, again, a small loss, even with all of the beer. It's better than no loss or a gain I guess, but was still hoping to break that 10 pound barrier!

And... so we aren't picture-less this was pre-race dinner from Qdoba

Thoughts:
  • Obviously my highest mileage in AGES, and yet it still doesn't seem to impact weight loss. Again, I find this FASCINATING.
  • For the third week in a row, I am "less" hungry. I guess it is NOT a fallacy.
  • This week I may or may not try to make a more "satisfying" breakfast to help get me through lunch.
  • Again, if I cut back on the beer a bit more, I will likely see better results.
  • I guess I will play the game for one more week...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bighorn Trail 50K (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 15
Dayton, WY
50K #4
Weather - Chilly at the start, sunny and warm

I registered for the Bighorn Trail 50k the day it opened, way back in January. Remember, way back then when I had all these aspirations about rebuilding my base and getting faster again and starting to love running? Yeah. Well, we all know that didn't happen.

I think I was in denial about this race. I didn't prepare for it, I'd been on running hiatus for over a month. I had not looked at the course information, the elevation profile, NOTHING. I figured, I have done the distance before, if nothing else, it will be a nice, long hike?

Friday

I dropped A off at summer camp around 7:30 and started the long and lonely drive to Sheridan, Wyoming, where packet pick-up and our hotel was located. I was really excited to see my Texas ultra friends Libby and Lesley again, and would be sharing a room with Lesley at the swanky Holiday Inn. They had arrived the day before and told me to text when I got close. Unbeknownst to any of us, there would not be cell phone service on the mountain (where they were crewing for their friend who was running the 100), so when I didn't hear from them I went to packet pick-up. The sign hanging in the stairwell was HILARIOUS, yet terrifying at the same time.


I spent  my time in the very long line chatting with girl and her dad. SO cute that they were doing this together as their very first race. EVER. Turns out the really long line was for the 30k, so I was able to cut over and get my things. There were two different shirt options, and I chose the bright purple. I still hadn't heard from the Texans, so I headed to the bar next door for a beer. I ended up chatting with a couple from Ft. Collins (an hour north of where I live) and we walked to a brewery down the street.


I had a few DELICIOUS beers and heard from Lesley and Libby with our dinner plans. They had not been super impressed with the pasta dinner, so we met up with Courtney and Luke at the Qdoba down the street. I had a tasty chicken bowl. And then this picture happened. Why am I so weird? :(


Early to bed.

Saturday

Thankfully, Libby is a planner. She was driving us all to where we had to pick up our bus to get to the start. Remember when I said I had done zero research on this course? I hadn't even purchased my ticket until last month, because I didn't realize there was a shuttle. I also didn't know it was a half hour drive to the shuttle. Pre-race picture for us to upload before we all lost cell phone service:

Lesley, me, Libby
Annoying, we walked all the way to the bus pick up before I realized I had left my sunglasses in the car, so I had to run back and get them. At least I realized THEN and not later?

The bus ride was REALLY long and our driver made a few wrong turns. We arrived at the start (also, the mile 14 aid station) about an hour before start time. It was COLD. I was glad I had chosen to wear arm sleeves and almost wished that I had worn a throwaway. I cycled through the bathroom line twice.

Another picture where I look like a midget to add to my collection (From left: Phil, Libby, Me, Lesley, Courtney, Luke)

Again, not having ANY clue what was happening, I didn't realize that we were starting, literally, straight up the mountain. Probably the first race ever where I didn't even jog across the start line. Us mid-back of the packers, walked up the first steep hill of the course.


Even with all the running hatred I have been feeling, I vaguely remember that part of what attracted me to this race was how pretty the course was going to be. I probably could have dropped to the 30k, which I briefly considered when I starting hearing things about the course, like all the extreme downhills we would be running. My IT band tends to flare up a lot on downhills and I didn't want to have to drop if it started to hurt. Then I was reminded that with the other distances, the 50k had a generous 13 hour time limit, which I figured I could walk most of and still finish in time.

Like a few other reports I have written, this will be recapped mainly in pictures. To summarize very briefly:
  • The uphills were steep.
  • The downhills were steep.
  • Some of the course was rutted with lots of rocks and roots.
  • Some of the course was crazy muddy.
And spoiler - even with a fall around mile 6 where I rolled my (bad) ankle (which thankfully did not hinder my ability to finish), nothing really hurt! AND I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS RACE. No really, it was the hardest 50k I've done, and there were a few times I wanted to die, but the scenery was completely worth every second of it. Run love is not back, but trail love is.

Without further ado... the Bighorn Trail 50k:



 


This trail fed into a really beautiful wooded section of rooty, muddy trails. Probably my favorite section of the course, I do remember yelling "I LOVE THIS COURSE" through that section. I didn't take any pictures because I was moving pretty fast (for me) and it was pretty technical.


I turned around at the top of a steep incline to take this of the people behind me. I feel somewhere behind where they are and the ridge at the top.
Bacon!! (At Cow Camp aid station)






Mentally, I began to crash a bit on the huge huge HUGE incline back up to the Dry Fork aid station (aka, where we started) at mile 14. I could see the cars shining on the top of the ridge and it seemed like we were never ever in a billion years going to get there. I think walking up that slope was the first time I got passed by a 100 miler, and I felt like the biggest jerk in the world for complaining and he was just sucking it up and moving.

I remember briefly contemplating if I even wanted to finish this race. Since I had no real idea what the course was like, I wasn't sure if what I had just done was what the rest of the course was like or just a really tough section. Turns out, that was the "hardest part." I  regrouped at the aid station (no seriously, I was there for at least 10 minutes). I had two tasty pieces of pizza (meat, olives, etc) and some candy (m&m's, mike & ikes), chips, watermelon, diet Pepsi, and grabbed a piece of beef jerky to eat on the hill out of the aid station. I have never seen such a wide variety of food at an aid station. I really didn't want to leave.
 

But leave I did. Grudgingly, finally. I spent the next few miles "chasing" a 100 miler and her pacer. Finally, the time came to pass her, and really, there is NO glory in passing someone that has already been on their feet for over 80 miles.


I spent some time chatting with a man from Canada. After leaving the aid station (at mile 18?) we encountered another really muddy area. The mud was SO thick it was more of the consistency of silly putty or something. More than one person lost their shoe in the mud!




I'm about halfway up "The Long Haul" and took this picture behind me. Only hill I had to stop a billion times because it was so exhausting to walk up
"Rewarded" with a nice downhill after The Long Haul where we got to run through this beautiful field of wildflowers
 





At some point, I finally asked someone where we were, and I surprised (I guess?) by how much we had already done, even though it felt like I had been out there FOREVER. The second half went by a lot faster for me because it seemed a lot more "runnable" than the first half, where I honestly walked MILES.


And then....
We ended up on the "worst" part of the course. A 5 mile death march on a flattish gravel road. There were some houses and a few spectators. This house had the cutest sign out front and they were blasting "Eye of the Tiger" on a boombox:


I really wanted to run it in, and hopefully beat my Palo Duro time. I just did not have anything left. The first 26 of the course had so many ups and downs and very few flats. My legs were just trashed. I could only run a minute or two at a time before I needed to walk. If I wasn't walking, I might have missed the only snake I'd encounter on the course:


When I finally got to paved road, I knew I was almost done. Libby had pointed out the park to me as we had driven by in the morning, but I didn't know exactly where. I walked up until I was about 50 feet from the finish line. I just had nothing left.

No medal for this one, although we did get a long sleeve 1/4 zip pullover "finisher" shirt that was really nice.

Bib #836
Time - 8:30:56
Overall Place - 170/216
Gender Place - 86/112
Division Place - 33/40

Would I have liked to have run faster and stronger? Of course. I will say, I am very pleased with  my finish. I got done without quitting or dying, and I actually passed some people in the second half and did not come anywhere near last. So, I call this a win

Finally found another INB'er at this race!
Courtney and Luke were still waiting at the finish line, even though they had been done for HOURS (no, really. Luke ran a 4:34 for 3rd male and 1st in his age group. Courtney ran 5:5x for 9th female and 1st in HER age group. Are they badass or what??)

It was so nice to have a friendly face at the finish! Luke had even brought beer and shared (thank you!)


Libby and Lesley had a tough race (Lesley blew out her knee on the extreme downhills around mile 20) and Libby had developed some nasty blisters. But they both finished!

We stayed at the finish area until after 9:00 pm to wait for the 100 milers to roll in. On the right is Jen from Run Pretty Far finishing another 100!


I had been hoping to have a beer at the "Crazy Woman Saloon" down the road, but everyone was pretty exhausted at the end of the day.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was after 10. Lesley and I had a brilliant idea to order pizza. That took over 8 minutes (!!!) but I was afraid to get rude with the guy for being a moron because I was pretty sure I'd die of starvation without it.

Pizza finally came, and after eating and unwinding, it was probably 11:30 before we made it to bed.

Sunday

Lesley and Libby's flight back to TX left early, so they were up before 5. I woke up right as Lesley was leaving and figured I might as well start the drive back to.

I made it back to Denver in one piece and without any speeding tickets. Win.

Thoughts:
  • A bad/hard trail race is infinitely better than any dumb road race.
  • I'd rather run something like this than a traditional marathon any day.
  • I am NOT in shape to be doing something like this, so I am really happy I didn't get injured. I don't recommend doing something like this without training.
  • I wonder what this would have been like if I was in better shape.
  • I kinda want to do another 50k. Which is crazy.
  • I would recommend this race, for sure.

Week in Review (November 7 - November 13)

Tuesday  (9,392 steps) - Nothing... walked on the treadmill and watched an episode of Game of Thrones. Wednesday  (19,114 steps) - Runners ...