Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week in Review (September 23 - September 29)

Tuesday - I headed out of work about 15 minutes early so I could get a loop on North Table Mesa done before dark. 7.15 miles at the fastest pace I've ever done on the loop. Weather was perfect and I finished just as the sun was setting. Felt great the whole run! Also did some stretching at home.
Wednesday - BodyPump! Hadn't been in a while. I really don't like the new release of this. It seems BodyPump is headed more towards a "Cross Fit" type of program and I don't like it. The moves are so fast and there are a binbillion reps and it seems like a recipe for disaster/injury. Hope the instructor doesn't have to teach this one for too long :(
Thursday - Finally got to try out the new treadmills at the gym. YES, THERE ARE NEW TREADMILLS AT THE GYM. I have been going to my gym for 5 years and these are the first NEW treadmills they gym has had in that amount of time. I had eaten too much at dinner so my run wasn't the greatest (stomach-wise), but leg wise... these treadmills were pretty great.


Friday - Pizza and my friend's 40th birthday BBQ and beer.


Saturday - Bear Chase 50.
Sunday - Me and A were up even EARLIER than I had been up on Saturday to volunteer for the shorter distances at the Bear Chase. We were assigned to the Cattail Creek aid station, so we would only be seeing the half marathon runners. The race didn't start until 7 (and our aid station was only 2.4 miles to the finish), but they had us arriving at 5 am. That was ROUGH. The first hour or so we were standing around (freezing) and talking, waiting for our supplies to arrive.

A enjoyed running sections of the course - including up "mini Mt. Everest"
The set up did not take long. A and I took the first shift of being a course marshal at the turn for "mini Mt. Everest." We had lots of volunteers, so mostly we were cheering on the runners and getting water bottles filled. I'd guess at least half the runners didn't even stop at our aid stations though. We went to Sweet Tomatoes for brunch and then took a MUCH needed two hour nap. Don't really remember the rest of the day.
Monday - Skipped CHAOS, watched tv.

Weekly Miles Run - 62.46
Minutes of Cross Training - 0
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 73

Weekly Gain - 3.2 pounds (119.6)
  • I started getting REALLY hungry Thursday. I ate a decent amount Friday. Saturday, during the race, I really didn't eat that much and didn't have a huge dinner after. Sunday, I also ate a lot. I didn't really track food because, wow, during a race like that it just doesn't even make sense. I don't think this is all "true" weight gain. We'll see what the scale says next week.
Everything Else
  • This about sums it up...
  • I have not heard back from my interview. I followed up last week. I didn't have a good feeling about it, so I am not surprised, although I suppose they could still be slammed with other interviews, as I know they were looking to fill various positions across the board.
  • In only TWO weeks, I will be celebrating an ENTIRE YEAR without a single date. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bear Chase Trail Run 50 Miler (Race Recap)

Lakewood, CO
Saturday, September 27
Ultra Marathon #11
Weather - HOT HOT HOT HOT


After I ran the 50 mile at Bear Chase in 2011 I swore I would never do it again, mainly because of the 12 hour time limit. For most of the year, NYC was the goal race, so when registration opened, I initially registered for the 50K. But then, I signed up for a 100 mile race in November and thought I might as well bump up to the 50 mile and see where I was at. Thanks to the addition of the 100K distance in 2013, the time limit was now a luxurious 15 hours.

And then I starting watching the extended forecast. With every passing day the forecast was for warmer and warmer temperatures. I was cursing myself for upgrading. I have run this race three times already and I know how hot it gets. A brief conversation with my dad:

Me: "Will I see you on the course again?" (he has been known to ride his bike over to the park to spot me on the course).
Dad: "Yeah, I'll come see you. IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. You should be running something shorter."

Uh. Ok. And with that in mind...

I woke up at 4:40, hoping to get out the door in about a half hour. I had packed 99% of my things on Thursday, to allow for things I would inevitably forget to load up on Friday night or Saturday morning. I had a piece of pepperoni pretzel pizza for breakfast and a cup of coffee. Headed to the race around 5:15. I arrived at the lot at Bandimere around 5:40, briefly talked with Dan about possibly pacing, then got on the shuttle to head to the start.

I had picked up a bib for a friend, and was worried about having the time to find him before the race, stash my things and use the bathroom. Luckily, I found fellow INKnBURN ambassador Jeff with no problems, and we did the quick bag hand off. I ran into Courtney and Luke, who offered to let me use their tent to store my bag so my stuff would be easier to find. It was GREATLY appreciated as by the time I had arrived the drop bag area was pretty much full.

Quick trip through the bathroom line, and one picture before the start.

Jeff and Me
I had no idea how the day would go. Other than the marathon I ran on Labor Day I hadn't logged anything longer than a half marathon since the beginning of August.

Loop 1 (2:36:48)

I was literally the last runner across the timing mat as I knew I would be going slow and steady all day. My calves are unpredictable and can seize up with virtually no notice. I didn't want to end up causing a traffic jam if I needed to walk on a single track section.

The first few miles were fairly quiet and uneventful. Briefly, I felt a bit chilled in the shaded area, but knew it would heat up fast, so I was grateful for the cooler temps.



The race started about 20 minutes before sunrise, so we were able to have a nice view of a beautiful sunrise (before the giant ball of fire tried to kill us all):


The only near fall I had was very early in the race. I tripped over a root or a rock. Regardless, I managed to catch myself without actually hitting the ground. Hurray!!


My legs had finally started to warm up, and after only a few short walk breaks, I felt good enough to actually run. I didn't have to grab anything at the first aid station and headed out toward Mt. Carbon.
Heading to Mt. Carbon - Loop 1 (This whole section of the course was under FEET of water last year)
My strategy for Mt. Carbon is always the same. WALK. I am a terrible uphill runner and I know it just tires me out.

I swear, it's taller than it looks
I started chatting with a guy who remembered me from Chase the Moon (turns out it was Dustin Lee). It still felt cool running along the backside of Mt. Carbon, by the golf course until we entered the "woods" with the river crossings. The water was DEFINITELY deeper than I remembered.
River Crossing - Loop 1
It wasn't super hot yet, but the river crossing still felt nice. I remember commenting to Dustin on the short sidewalk portion of the course that it usually felt uphill here, but at this point in time it seemed flat. We parted ways at the aid station so he could change socks. I can't remember if I grabbed any food at this stop - might have taken coffee cake. I had some coke and headed out of Fox Hollow to the Cattail Creek aid station.

It is somewhat flat (maybe a gradual uphill) until you hit this monstrosity of a hill about a half mile in. I have never taken a picture of that particular hill, but it is SOUL CRUSHING. I power walked up the hill and then ran almost the whole section in the "marsh" until I had to stop and use the bathroom at the aid station.

Overlooking the golf course
I was feeling great at this point, and even the last 2.4 miles from Cattail back to the start seemed to go by decently fast. I really only recall walking "Mini Mt. Everest."
View from top of "Mini Mt. Everest"
I was really surprised when I saw how fast I run the first loop. Back at the start I grabbed a 1/4 PB&J, filled my water bottles with more Nuun and ice, reapplied sunscreen, briefly talked to Luke and headed out.

Loop 2 (2:39:59)

It was starting to get really hot. I had seen my friend Kate changing clothes at the start line and within a few minutes she cruised by me. She made the run look so easy!

I had to change my strategy early on. I was feeling mostly ok, but just sort of... "off" in the head. Not really dizzy, not really light-headed, just "off." I walked a bit more than I should have, but tried to run all the flats and downhills and anywhere there was shade.


Looks like the middle of nowhere (really, on the way to Mt. Carbon)
Have I mentioned the sun was TRYING TO KILL ME DEAD???
Halfway up Mt. Carbon
Everything seemed just a "tad" harder than the first loop. Mt. Carbon seemed to take longer and seemed steeper. I got a second wind at the top of the hill and felt like I flew down the backside and over the rivers and through the wood (see what I did there?)


The water crossings felt EXTRA great his loop:


I took off my shoes halfway up the sidewalk. Just as I remembered from years past, it felt GLORIOUS. I knocked all the sand out of my shoes and everything dried up almost instantaneously. More coke and coffee cake at Fox Hollow. Thankfully, they are giving out ice water now. The sun is practically boiling the water in my jet pack. So hot.

I run about half the section to the horrible hill. Already struggling. Run most of the section in the marsh to Cattail. See friend from run club a the aid station. Hot. Grab pickles and more PB&J.

Valley near Cattail
Everything is a blur until I get back to the aid station. I am REALLY surprised that my pace seems to have not changed substantially from the first loop.

Reapply sunscreen. More Nuun. More Mountain Dew. Talk briefly with Courtney (who had to drop due to illness) and Luke. Head back out. Halfway done.

Loop 3 (2:57:23)

And then the wheels start turning. I mean, nothing HURTS yet. I am tired, but not in pain. I had no real goal going into the race other than to hopefully be done before it got dark enough to require a headlamp (maybe around 12.5 hours). If I could maintain a reasonable pace... what if I could beat my other 50 mile time?

The giant ball of fire in the sky is trying to kill me. No doubt about it. There are still ZERO clouds. It is hot. I am not feeling well. I have taken a handful of gels by now (maybe 4), but just tiny bits of food. I feel light-headed and... well, HOT.



I'm pretty much only running downhills and half the flats. I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep moving. My IT band is holding up but putting up a bit of a fight running down the back of Mt. Carbon. Salvation:


The crossings are AMAZING. Maybe I will  survive after all. Shoes off again, walk up the sidewalk, more ice water, more coffee cake (getting stale), run/walk until I get passed the hill. Half run, half walk until Cattail.

Still monitoring my time, I am definitely on track for a possible PR as long as I don't totally fall apart.

Loop 4 (3:16:08)

I cross the line for the last time until I will finish. More Nuun, pickles, and Coke. More sunscreen. I see Ben and he asks how I am doing. I say, "great, I think, on track for a PR!" Dan chases me asking if he can pace me now. Ben tells him no pacers allowed until 3. I arrive about 15 minutes too early for one. So I headed out. Much more walking than running. Right as I'm heading into Pelican Point Dan shows up with a pacer bib. Looks like I will have company for the last 10 miles.

I tell him the ULTIMATE goal would be to finish by 6:00, secondary goal would be to PR. I hate to feel tired. I hate for things to hurt. But I REALLY wanted a PR, and a BIG one. I turned off the headphones and tried not to hate Dan too much for his harassment encouraging words. On fresh legs, he was anxious to run and was scurrying up hills like it was nothing.

Somewhere around the river crossings (about 45 miles in), was when my body finally started to hurt. My right hip was bothering me, and on the climbs my ass was aching with every step. I did NOT want to stop. I wanted to keep moving, I wanted to run. I WANTED THAT PR.

I ran tiny bits here and there. I tried to open up my stride (sometimes it is really a bummer being so short). I barely stopped at Cattail. It was going to be VERY close for me to hit that OMG goal of 6:00, which would put me at finishing in 11.5 hours.

My Garmin 220 (with an 8-10 hour battery life) had lasted 10:44:xx until mile 46.75, when I put it in watch mode so I could monitor the time.

I hurt so bad. Dan ran the last section until the road. ran down the big hill, on the first section of road. I walked to the corner and then ran it in until the finish. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES WHEN I SAW THE FINISHER CLOCK STILL READ 11:30:XX.

I had done it. I hate making goals with myself during a race because INEVITABLY, something will go wrong. Yet somehow, the impossible had happened. I had run a 22 minute PR on the day that Colorado decided to mirror the surface of the sun.


Not sure I could smile bigger if I tried.



From the Garmin:
Miles 1-5 (12:26, 12:37, 12:33, 12:23, 11:56)
Miles 6-10 (13:55, 12:13, 13:14, 13:49, 12:40)
Miles 11-15 (13:18, 11:06, 12:44, 12:52, 11:23)
Miles 16-20 (12:38, 12:51, 13:47, 10:29, 12:49)
Miles 21-25 (15:56, 12:43, 14:21, 12:29, 12:59)
Miles 26-30 (13:56, 12:33, 12:47, 14:57, 13:01)
Miles 31-35 (16:15, 12:58, 17:16, 14:43, 14:10)
Miles 36-40 (14:49, 13:19, 15:12, 14:48, 14:02)
Miles 41-46.75 (16:20, 14:50, 17:37, 14:09, 16:26, 19:01, 15:21)

Dan headed off to change clothes and I immediately found beer and a seat in the grass.

Beer never tasted so good
After sitting and absorbing everything that happened I realized I should eat something. I was hoping for grilled cheese, but there wasn't any. Instead, I had delicious pancakes and sausage. Dan offered to pay for me to sit in Elevated Legs for 20 minutes. I swear I felt like a new person after:



Thoughts:
  • 50 miles is hard. It's especially hard on a super hot day. However, I think it helped me this time to know EXACTLY what I was in for. The only other 50 miler I have run was this same course, in very similar weather. I made sure to hydrate as best as I could, and I tried to stave off cramps as best as I could. I think I ran about as smart as I could, considering the conditions.
  • I did NOT hate the experience as much as last time. The last time I was racing the clock to finish in the course cutoff of 12 hours. Arguably, I am not as fast as I was in 2011, yet I managed to finish substantially faster.
  • This is one of the best trail races I have run, which is why I have now run four years in a row. From start to finish, everything is planned very well. The course is very well marked. Never have I felt like I would get lost or miss a turn. Course markings - A+
  • The aid stations are wonderful. The volunteers are top notch. I would have preferred something other than Honey Stinger gels (I just don't like how they taste), but I always bring my own so that was a non-issue. They always have a ton of different "ultra" foods out. Fig newtons, sandwiches, chips, pretzels, salted watermelon, M&M's, pickles, Coke/Mountain Dew/Ginger Ale. AND ICE. THANK GOD THEY HAD ICE.
  • The finish line party is the best. They leave EVERYTHING up for the very last finishers. As a back of the pack runner, I cannot even express how much this means to me. I love arriving and still having the announcer there. Still having PLENTY of beer and soda and food. It's so nice to not be alone at the finish.
  • FREE RACE PICTURES. FREE. FREE. FREE.
  • I will obviously run this again next year, although maybe not the 50 mile. Gotta let the PR stand for a while.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week in Review (September 16 - September 22)

Tuesday - Ran a few easy during lunch and then had a great 6 miles on the treadmill after work.
Wednesday - Left work early for the interview, then I was able to stop at home and pick up A so we could go to run club. I finally got to test out the Hoka, although I don't think I will be buying into the hype. Easy 1.5ish with A.

I broke down and got a Roll Recovery - have you used this??? Hurts so good...
Thursday - Literally ran to/from the doctor during lunch and then another lovely run on the treadmill after work. 7.5 excellent miles.
Friday - Pizza, beer and driving to Buena Vista.
Saturday - Autumn Color Run - more pizza and beer.
Sunday - Nothing in the morning. Spent the afternoon with Jessa watching football and planning what we are going to do for fun in NYC! Hard to believe it is right around the corner!
Monday - A few sorta hard miles during lunch. Legs heavy and tired. Chaos after work, although I was 10 minutes late thanks to traffic. I can't believe it takes over an hour sometimes to go less than 10 miles. And the winter and snow isn't even here yet! After dinner, a quick stretching video - VERY NEEDED.

Weekly Miles Run - 36.37
Minutes of Cross Training- 50
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 13

Weekly Loss - 1.2 pounds (116.4)
  • How shocking. Eat less, move more. And as I have said - it really is a numbers based game - this whole weight loss thing. My "in" is more of a guesstimate since I ate out a few times this week. But overall, you get the gist.
  • I really like my FitBit - as I said, now that I am actually using it like it should be used - it is really a helpful tool.
  • I ate pretty much all the things this week - again, as long as I am burning what I am eating, it IS, in fact, possible to lose weight without cutting out ANYTHING.

Everything Else
  • So I had the interview last Wednesday. Not sure it really went that well. Was told that they would be contacting people if they made it through to the second interview in 7-10 days (so I guess by the end of this week). If I haven't heard anything by the end of day tomorrow, I will follow-up. It sounds like I would be a good fit, I am just a terrible interviewer.
  • Wow, I was thinking about it today, it has been more than ELEVEN months since I went on my last date. That's sad. I guess.
  • So I filed papers with the Texas AG office a few (?) months ago since the ex has stopped paying child support altogether. For a while there, he was sending something almost every month (less than he was supposed to, but better than nothing). It has been over 4 months since he last sent payment. I will never understand why people don't pay child support.
  • A lost ANOTHER tooth... three teeth since the first week of August. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Autumn Color Run (Race Recap)

Saturday, September 20
Buena Vista, CO
Half Marathon #117
Colorado Half #53
Weather - ALL OF THE SUN


I was really looking forward to a fast, pretty and "cooler" fall-ish race. 1 out of 3?

I left work at 2:45 so that we could make the drive to Buena Vista without driving in the dark. Most of the drive is on a two-lane road and we still ended up hitting substantial amounts of traffic. It took much longer to get there than we would have liked. There was no way we were going to have enough time to pick up our packets, as that was only open until 5:00 pm.We didn't arrive until close to 7. L had suggested that we eat at the Eddyline Brewery - and I certainly wasn't going to object. As is our luck, the line was OUT THE DOOR, but there was nowhere else to really go. They were serving drinks if you were waiting in the lobby, so I got the Pumpkin Patch beer that was on tap - pretty good, and it saved me from getting really hangry. The wait for the food was long, but not unreasonable considering how busy they were. We got side salads and split a small pizza. I had a second beer. All in all, food is good, but they are severely understaffed.


We still had about a 25 minute drive to our hotel in Salida (a LOT cheaper than staying in Buena Vista). We got to the hotel around 9:00, and went right to bed.

Race Day

Already irritated with a 9 am start. WHY SO LATE??? The shuttle buses to the start were to leave at 8:15, so we figured with only about 250 runners, allowing 30 minutes to park and pick up our stuff would be PLENTY of time. Turns out, no.

First issue. This race doesn't sell "registrations" - they sell "tickets" - like a concert ticket. They want you to print out said ticket, print out and fill out a waiver and have all that ready when you pick up your bib. It's 2014. Why on earth are we duplicating everything? Why isn't all the information I entered online still there? So they DID require you to have all this, yet most people didn't. So all the people waiting in line are filling this out when they get to the front. They have the half marathon pick up divided into two lines. A-J and everyone else. Everyone but L seemed to be in the second half. And the volunteer for the A-J people couldn't seem to assist. With only about a half dozen people in front of me, it took almost 20 minutes to get my bib.

Went through the bathroom line and then we had to run back to the car to get our stuff and get back to the buses. We had 7 minutes to do that. We were parked over a quarter mile away, so we had to book it...

Get to the bus with 2 minutes to spare. And then we sit. And sit. And sit. And sit. And sit. The buses didn't leave until after 8:30. We had to drive out of town, up into the hills on a dirt road. Did you know that school buses don't go especially fast? We arrive at 9:01. Remember that the race was supposed to start at 9?

So there are only 2 bathrooms at the start, but I really have to pee, and bouncing up and down for 30 minutes only made it worse. There is no signage where the start is. There is no one telling us when the race is going to start, because obviously it is going to start late.

Pretty view in line for the bathroom
There are a lot of people in front of us and behind us as well. The buses have started to turn around but most have not left yet. We know we are going to be running down the road we just came in on, but don't know how far down. We start walking to the start, about 9:10.


A woman yells - they are getting ready to start. Uh. That's nice. WHERE? WHEN? We see a guy with a camera. "IS THIS THE START??" Apparently. No start line. Great. The race is not chip timed, we have no idea how long people have been running. I am trying to take it easy, I am feeling rushed, and it is already so hot and sunny. The views were amazing though, so I took quite a few pictures.


I got through the first mile feeling mostly ok. But it was ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE (literally?) I was thinking that I might have a decent race. Mostly downhill. However, I did NOT count on the extra late start and the fact that it was the sunniest ever ever ever. My legs started cramping very early on, so I had a very rough second mile. Happy I got this shot of Cottonwood Lake:


The road was not closed to traffic, and it was pretty wide so there wasn't really a safety issue with cars. However, a lot of dirt got kicked up, which wasn't fun. The road was also extremely grooved and rutted. It felt a lot like downhill skiing over moguls. Not fun.


The couple miles until the first aid station went mostly ok. I passed a few people on the downhill. Aid station around mile 4. TINIEST CUPS EVER. 2 oz cups? Maybe??? There were no gels, but I think there were cut up bananas and oranges. I took a miniature cup of water and kept going. Shortly after the aid station we had a few decent uphills. Walked a bit, but still managed a decent pace with the accompanying downhill. Around mile 6 is when we came out of the semi-shaded hills. AND IT WAS THE HOTTEST AND SUNNIEST EVER. We moved briefly onto the main road. NOT closed to traffic and a super tiny bike lane. I ran ok until the next aid station around mile 7 or 7.5. And then I pretty much died. We ran a loop on a country dirt road for about 3 miles. It was hot. It was exposed. It was supposedly downhill-ish, but my legs were TRASHED. Everyone near me was complaining about the heat and the altitude (apparently the city of Buena Vista is about 8,000' and we started closer to 9,500').


I just wanted to be done. I walked SO SO SO much. It helped for a bit, then I would try to run and I would only be able to manage a few minutes before my legs wanted to quit. The views were still nice, even once we were out of the hills.


Last aid station was about mile 10.5. The last 3 miles was ALL on the main road. Which I really hated. Again, a super narrow bike path and open to traffic. It was hard to pass (I somehow actually DID pass a few people).

The race counted down miles left, which I found annoying. I knew I was close to town and thought I could run it in strong. Nope. I was walking with less than a quarter mile to go. There were TONS of people hanging out in the park by the finish and it was crowded and all of a sudden I had a volunteer grab my arm and yell about needing the tag of the bottom of my bib. There was no actual finish line, and I hadn't even STOPPED MOVING. I snapped back that he needed to wait a second. It was for real the most angry I have ever been at a finish line. If you don't want an actual finish line, THAT IS FINE. But wait until someone has stopped MOVING before you assault them. A kid tossed my medal at me and I moved off to find L.

Found L and a friend we met at Runapalooza (David? I am so bad with names). Grabbed a quick treat from the finish area and agreed that we would eat at the brewery in town again before heading back home.


Bib Number - 262
Official Time - 2:17:11 (Not sure how this is faster than my Garmin time since we missed the start it should be at least a few minutes slower?)
Overall Place - 184/263
Gender Place - 124/190
Division Place - 46/66
Garmin Time - 2:18:01
Mile 1- 9:58
Mile 2 - 11:57
Mile 3 - 9:03
Mile 4 - 9:24
Mile 5 - 10:09
Mile 6 - 9:53
Mile 7 - 9:42
Mile 8 - 12:00
Mile 9 - 10:34
Mile 10 - 11:10
Mile 11 - 11:28
Mile 12 - 11:22
Mile 13 - 11:13
Mile 13xx - 9:20

Thoughts:

  • WTF. So complicated and disorganized. How on earth this race has been put on for 30 years is beyond me. The tickets. The waivers. The shuttle bus fiasco. Bathroom shortages (NONE on course either).
  • Aid stations - Volunteers seemed friendly enough. Small cups = stupid, especially when there are only THREE aid stations. Bring your own nutrition, no  gels on course either.
  • So glad I had my Orange Mud vest. I would have perished without my liquids. Only 3 aid stations with it starting that late and being so not. NO!
  • Holy crap with the late start. So hot and sunny. Should have started NO LATER than 7:30 (I would prefer just after sunrise, but that's just me). Running on hot asphalt with NO shade after 11 in the morning is lunacy.
  • The finish line was so crowded and a complete cluster. I did NOT like being grabbed, I did NOT like being rushed. I don't understand why that was so disorganized as well.
  • The course itself was nice, but at least part of the road should have been blocked off, with at least safety cones or SOMETHING. Some of those vehicles got pretty darn close.
  • The shirt looks like it might be nice (soft cottony-y, not like a tech tee), although I have not worn it.
  • IMO - not worth it. While I LOVED the scenery, I was so irritated with the other aspects of the race that I just did not have a good time. I will not run this event again.
  • L, however, ran a faux PR!!

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...