Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week in Review (July 19 - July 25)

Tuesday (16,927 steps)  - A is home!!!! Her first night back was us going to Home Depot to order the new (cheap) door since the HOA will not budge. Hate them. Picked up some dessert and then did laundry. Boy, we sure are exciting!
Wednesday (18,432 steps) - Went to a barre class during lunch. I hadn't taken Laura's class in a while, and she is still my favorite for sure! After work I picked up A and we went to run club, which was Superhero themed.

I'm Robin and A is Batman (get it??)
Maureen, A and I walked around the dirt track (well, I tried jogging a bit, but that didn't last long). Spent some time at the store, then went to dinner with Maureen and Heather at Noodles to catch up.
Thursday (19,149 steps) - Went over to Belmar for run club. It was a pretty large showing! Still not running, but we had a great time walking around the park. For the first time, I really noticed all the people playing Pokemon... I know that the pro-argument for the game is "people are getting outside" and "spending time together." However, everyone I saw looked like a zombie staring at their phones. I did NOT hear people talking. Weird.

Went to Rocko's after for a beer and nachos. We left earlier than everyone else because we can't be party animals EVERY night.
Friday (52,502 steps) - Chase the Moon.
Saturday (57,921 steps) - Chase the Moon continued... after we broke camp, we went to Snooze for breakfast. The wait was about an hour (!!!) and the food was delicious.
At 10:30 we headed over to Tivoli to meet up with Maureen for the last of the beer runs. I didn't even want to WALK this one as it was already a million degrees and I was super tired from the race anyway.
I look like the walking dead. This is what it looks like to be up for like 32 hours.
We had a few beers, and then A and I headed home around 12:30 to shower and nap. Up at 5:00 to get ready for... The Amazing Acro-Cats!!! We met up with Chris and Maureen for this super-bizarre event at the Bug Theater in the art district. A woman has basically (attempted) to train domestic cats. Most of them, unsurprisingly, had no interest in doing what was asked of them. The best part was the band, "The Rock Cats." Dead from the cuteness.


Sunday (17,481 steps) - Tried to sleep in. Kind of failed. Helped A finish packing for camp, then went to breakfast at Sweet Tomatoes. Ate less than usual. Rested on the couch and then headed down to Sky High Ranch for camp drop-off at noon. It took two hours to get there, most of the driving being on two-lane road.
The whole process took about an hour, between all the stops we had to make to fill out more forms, etc. Rose and Kevin invited me to get lunch/early dinner with them at Rudy's. It was fantastic, I hadn't been there in years. By the time I got home it was after 7:00!! Who knew something as simple as dropping A off at camp would take all day??
Monday (18,670 steps) - 7:15 barre class before work. Pretty much all I did all day. Walked to the library after dinner. Saw lots of people playing Pokemon, oh, and this beautiful sunset.

Stats:
  • 201,082 steps
  • 41.2 miles run (yep, just the race!)
  • No cross training, other than lots of walking
  • 2 barre classes
Everything Else:
  • I hate my HOA. The end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chase the Moon 12 Hour Endurance Run (Race Recap)

Highlands Ranch, CO
Friday, July 22 - Saturday July 23
Ultra Marathon #18
Weather - Humid, overcast, warm
I decided not to take the day off from work since I can never sleep past 7 anyway. I did, however, work a short day, leaving around 3:45 to pick up A and head down to the Chase the Moon. Traffic wasn't great, but I expected it from the last time I ran, in 2014. We arrived around 5:30 pm, with plenty of time to get the tent set up and for me to pick up my bib.

The weather looked really iffy. Dark clouds and thunder and lightning. We had a few raindrops, but nothing too terrible, we really lucked out. I spent the next hour getting everything ready to go, chatting with Heather and other teammates, using the bathroom, etc. Maureen and Colfax were volunteering, and she was nice enough to bring a pizza! About 15 minutes before the start I decided that a slice of pizza would be the perfect way to fuel. It was so tasty.

Heather and I planned to stick together, with me warning her that I had not been running at all, and that I would be going really slow. And by not running, I mean, seriously, I hadn't run since the super slow half marathon the Sunday before. We started in the back, and that's pretty much where we stayed the entire race.

It was warm and humid, but thankfully, overcast. Neither one of us had really paid too much attention to the race instructions, nor looked at a map. All I remember hearing was "if you are a solo or 5-person relay team, follow the blue markings." Since we were in the far back, it was a little disconcerting that we only saw ORANGE markings. We could see people in front of us that we knew were solo runners, so we figured we had to be going the right way. Heather and I had sort of an unspoken agreement that if one of us took a walk break, the other one would as well. We jogged most of the early miles, walking a bit only on the climbs. I was relieved to find that this year we were starting the course counter-clockwise, as I believed that to be the more difficult direction. We saw a snake that was slinking across the trail early on, rattling at us. SO TERRIFYING. I HATE SNAKES.
Couldn't get my camera out fast enough to see him slithering across the trail (shudder)
Isn't it so pretty??
We arrived at the Outlaw aid station, about 4.5 miles in (?) and I only grabbed a little cup of Mountain Dew. We asked the volunteer if we were on the right course for solo runners and only got an answer that we were at the Outlaw aid station. Yeah, we know. So we kept going, still only seeing orange flags/marking. Shortly after leaving, the sun started to set. We spent the next 10 minutes or so taking pictures. Worth it.



Out came the headlamps, with discussion of how far it was until the next aid station. We arrive at the wider dirt section of the trail. In the past, we went to the right for an out and back for the aid station. Not this year. Turns out that was a detail I should have paid attention to! I hadn't filled up my bottles at Outlaw and I ran out of water with about 2 miles until the start/finish. Womp. The last two miles I was surprised at how good I felt. I did notice, however, that I kept having to stop and wait for Heather. She hadn't been running much either, and had recently lost her big toenail. She insisted she was feeling ok, so I kept waiting.

Once at the start/finish, used the bathroom and then refilled bottles. I wasn't really hungry, and I was feeling very agitated with the amount of time we were at the aid station. I kinda rushed Heather out, and we headed out for loop 2.
Overlooking the city from the top of the course
I was still feeling good and had convinced myself that this was an "easy" loop. I was still spending a lot of time waiting on Heather, but for now, it was ok since we were doing a small amount of climbing. The moon was starting to come out, but I couldn't seem to get a good picture of it.
Headed to the west side of the course and I was actually having a pretty good time. Thankfully the newer headlamp I bought is WAY brighter than my other one. Maybe a mile outside of Outlaw I realized that Heather wasn't behind me, and I couldn't see her headlamp. At this point I made the decision not to wait. I was feeling way better than I expected and wanted to see how many miles I could put in. When I arrived at Outlaw I asked the volunteers to let her know why I couldn't wait. I spent the rest of the loop feeling a little badly for leaving her, especially after we had agreed to stick together. Sometimes, I guess you have to run your own race?

Arrived at the start/finish to see Maureen and Colfax still hanging out. I was very quick at the aid station as I had decided I really wanted to go for 4 loops. I didn't see Heather on my way out and hoped that she wouldn't be mad for me leaving her. The counter-clockwise loop did not feel as hard in the dark as I had remembered from 2 years ago (thankfully). Almost stepped on a toad around mile 23, which was pretty terrifying. At Outlaw the volunteer told me they had ice. ICE. All the water at the aid stations was lukewarm and the the thought of ice cold fluids made me SO HAPPY. It took her a few minutes to get the cubes into my bottle, but it was totally worth it. Surprised/pleased at how much running I was able to do this loop. Finally getting hungry, I eat some peanut butter pretzels and beef jerky. In and out of the start/finish (which by now was VERY quiet) in a minute or two, only briefly chatting with David (the race director).

Out for my final loops, with about 3.5 hours to complete. Pretty sure I can get this done with no problem as long as I keep moving. I risked not bringing a long sleeve with me as I was STILL hot, even knowing I got cold around dawn the last time I ran. I saw Heather about a mile in and she seemed happy to see me, concerned only that she was going the right way. Still some running this loop, but not as much as in previous loops. Sun started to come up shortly before I arrived at Outlaw, where I ditched my headlamp. The last 4+ miles to the finish were a death march for me, walking pretty much the entire time. I don't know why the sun coming up during a race tires me, but it always does.

I arrived at the finish in just under 11.5 hours, getting passed by two relay runners right as I crossed (who were trying to goad me into running faster - c'mon ladies, I've been out all night, you haven't). Considering my injury, I'm pleased with how I felt and how many miles I was able to complete. Met up with Heather, grabbed a cold burrito and then went to help A pack up all the gear.
Somehow neglected to get a single picture of myself before/during/after the race - this was what I wore, along with my medal
Official  Time - 11:24:03
Official Miles - 41.2
Overall Place - 30/78
Gender Place - 11/35
Division Place - 5/12
Miles 1-5 - 13:06, 13:47, 14:00, 14:39, 16:55
Miles 6-10 - 15:26, 16:30, 15:46, 15:10, 15:27
Miles 11-15 - 22:16, 16:00, 15:38, 16:21, 15:13
Miles 16-20 - 13:49, 15:48, 15:51, 15:14, 17:34
Miles 21-25 - 15:32, 14:29, 17:19, 16:24, 20:58
Miles 26-30 - 16:39, 16:38, 16:50, 16:10, 16:42
Miles 31-35 - 17:44, 18:26, 17:56, 17:04, 16:19
Miles 36-41.25 - 18:19, 16:58, 19:35, 20:11, 17:59, 17:43, 13:25 for the last 1/4 mile!

Thoughts:
  • Once I realized that the blue/orange markings only affected the east side of the course along a small section the course was super easy to navigate. I think the course was marked very well, with confidence flagging and glow sticks at night.
  • There was only the one aid station on the course, which was fine once I *knew* there was only one. Sodas and tons of ultra snacks. No "warm" food that I saw, although after dark there supposedly was at the start/finish.
  • Cool race shirt this year (no pic of course).
  • Medal is the same as two years ago, but with a (cheap) year specific ribbon. Still don't like that the only increments are 50k or 50 mile for designations on the middle. Wish they would just leave that off and say 12 hours.
  • The "party" atmosphere was definitely gone this year. Flippin' Flapjacks was a no show (so sad), and they opted not to do beers and awards at the park this year so everyone just kinda left when they were done. Kind of a downer way to end a 12 hour race! A and I ended up going to Snooze for breakfast, where I had some truly delicious blueberry/lemon danish pancakes.
  • Would I recommend? Absolutely. If you are looking for a sort of hilly, not very technical run in the dark, do it! It's a great way to go for your first ultra as you have 12 hours to get it done. Depending how the next year goes I'll either run again, or volunteer like I did last year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Longmont "Trail" Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, July 17
Longmont, CO
Half Marathon #149
Weather - Sunny and hot

The Longmont Trail half marathon was probably the one race in the series that I was not looking forward to at all. For starters, running that far in the metro area in summer is miserable. It's been in the 90's for weeks and race day was no exception. Secondly, obviously, I haven't been running and I wasn't even really sure that I could physically get through the race. Lastly, I was confused and thought the Longmont half marathon I ran a few years ago was the same event - and I hate it. Anyway, not looking forward to it.

Jeff (the race director) had moved up the start to 7:45 (from 8 am), but said we could take an early start. Under normal circumstances I would not take an early start. In my current physical condition I decided I'd go ahead and start early, since I very likely would be out on the course all morning.

I got up around 5 and drove the 45 minutes or so up to Longmont. The parking lot was fairly easy to find at the Boulder County Fairgrounds and it was a short walk to the starting area.
I met up with fellow ERS ambassador Stacy, who asked if I wanted to start at 6:40-6:45 (I had been planning to start at 7). She had already spoken with the timing guy, who said we could pretty much start whenever. So as soon as I had my bib and went to the bathroom, we were off. Stacy was having some issues with her ankle, as well as some breathing issues. We managed to stick together for the first 4 or so miles, plodding along at a speedy 13:xx pace. The first two aid stations were not set up yet, but I had my handheld so I wasn't super concerned.

Around 4 miles in Stacy decided that she was going to drop at the 10k (the half marathon course was a double loop), so she pulled back and slowed down and I kept going.

Man. It is really hot in July. The first few miles, I had noticed a bit of a niggle in my hip, but by 3-4 miles in it seemed to loosen up. Other than general fatigue, I didn't find anything painful, so yay! I was heading into mile 5 when the faster half marathon runners and 10k'ers were getting started. I literally started an hour early and they weren't that far back.

These short areas of shade were amazing!!
Even though most of the course was on bike path, there were some appealing views
I haven't really done many double loop courses and figured I would hate the loop the second time around. Even though it was fiery hot out, it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared. There was enough shade on most of it that I didn't feel too terrible. Plus, I got to be lapped by all the fast people, so that's always fun.

My "A" goal for this race was to see if I could get through at least half of the race running. I am pleased to say that while my pace certainly wasn't anything impressive, that I was able to slow jog about 95% of the race. I say that is a success!

Official Time - 2:55:55 (wow)
Overall Place - 130/139
Gender Place - 84/91
Division Place - 31/33
Mile 1 - 13:55
Mile 2 - 14:08
Mile 3 - 13:44
Mile 4 - 13:45
Mile 5 - 13:25
Mile 6 - 12:33
Mile 7 - 13:11
Mile 8 - 13:43
Mile 9 - 13:20
Mile 10 - 13:40
Mile 11 - 13:39
Mile 12 - 12:48
Mile 13 - 12:34
Mile 13.12 - 11:50

I met up with some of my teammates after the finish (they were still there because they were waiting for awards - I'm the only one on the team that didn't make the podium, lol)

The gal in the blue shorts is the doctor that has been working on my hip - race was approved!
Thoughts
  • Course is definitely flat and fast. If you're a person that can run well in the heat, this would probably be a good course.
  • I wore my Hoka Cliftons on my longest run to date. Previously, my longest run was 6 miles. I don't know that I "love" the Hokas, but they have been my go-to shoe during my injury as they seem to minimize the impact a bit when I run.
  • Course was well marked - there were several small out and back sections that were marked for both the 10k and half marathon, I don't think it would be easy to get lost.
  • The aid stations are a blur. I don't remember. I believe there was water and Powerade, not sure if there was food/fuel of any kind.
  • The medal is pretty cool - doubles as a bottle opener. 
  • I haven't changed my mind on the summer racing. It sucks. I don't love the heat, at all.
  • The race shirt is nice - gender specific, and randomly, black. It doesn't seem to be the super thin tech style, so I'll have to see what I can pair it with. But it's different, and since I'm an ambassador, I'll likely wear it. I only have one other black race shirt in the mix!
  • This is called a trail race, but let's be clear - it's "urban" trail. That means that it is a combination of bike path and dirt, but nothing technical at all. Very little elevation change and I have to say that it is sort of a stretch calling it trail.
  • Post race party was good, but sadly, one of the three venues that doesn't allow beer.
  • Overall, ERS puts on a fantastic event (and I'm not just saying that!) and I would recommend any of their races. With that said, out of all the races, this would not be a "top" pick for me. It was however, better than I expected.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Years in the making

I've been struggling on and off with continuing with the whole blogging thing, and I've decided I'm not going to do it anymore. The exception to this will be race recaps, which I hope still come in handy for people.

I'll leave you with just a quick update - the hip is much better. I've gone to a few follow-up ART and needling sessions. That, combined with no running, has helped. Hope to be back at running soon.


For a final (non race specific) picture - a group of my favorite run club buddies.

Week in Review (July 12 - July 18)

Tuesday (17,074 steps) - Guess what? Another rest day. Bah. At the beer run on Saturday I actually won a raffle! I received two free tickets to a screening of the new Ghostbusters movie. After work I headed down to the theater and met up with the same guy that I went out with Saturday for the movie. I was pleasantly surprised! I did not have high expectations, but it was pretty entertaining.
The movie hadn't started until 7, so it was yet another late night for me. Reflecting on the evening, TOTALLY not into the guy at all. I almost felt violated when he tried to touch me, so needless to say, NO SPARK, and no third date. Ah well.
Wednesday (20,372 steps) - Busy morning. Went to barre class at 7:15, then headed back to Accelerate Health for another visit with Kendelle. The good news is that she said my hips looked a lot better and that although my muscles in my left quad/glut area are still incredibly tight, she thought they weren't as bad as Monday. So more ART (ouchie) and more needling (with longer and more needles). It's so difficult to not be frustrated with this. After work headed down to run club. Walked with Maureen over to the dirt track and tested out the leg/hip with a loop on the dirt. Not great. Not painful, but gait is still horrible and compensating. So, another day I'll try again. To make myself feel better and convince myself that my ultra dreams this summer aren't over, I upgraded my Garmin (25% off!) to the Fenix 3.
Ended up staying at the store until 9 chatting with everyone. So yes, another late night.


Thursday (18,074 steps) - Woke up almost an hour before my alarm went off, so I took that as a sign to take a hot epsom salt bath. I mean, it can't do any harm, right? Special run club (and by run club, of course it's "walk" club for me) at the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which is a wine bar in the newest "hip" part of town (RiNo). Stance was there was a vendor and did a cool "finders keepers" to earn free socks! Unfortunately, Maureen and I couldn't do most of the course since we were walking, and we didn't find anything. We did get in about 3.5 miles of walking, so that was nice. We stayed and had some wine, then home.


I did, however, win a pair of socks in a rock, paper, scissors game
Friday (16,954 steps) - Uneventful day, went to barre after work. Got home to find the response from my HOA. They are NOT approving my door and gave me less than a month to replace with an "approved" door (list of approved doors was not included). Spent the evening pissed off walking around the complex looking at all the other doors that are like mine. A called me (finally), and we chatted a bit.
Saturday (28,673 steps) - Up early for Runners Edge. The run was WAY DOWN in Highlands Ranch, so it took me an hour to get there. Supposedly a cut-back week for those people that are still running, so the run wasn't as early at least. Once again, started with the slowest pace group and did 6 miles.
Sat in a pair of recovery legs and then headed to Runners Roost to pick up some Body Glide before meeting Maureen at Former Future for the latest of the beer runs. This "run" went through Wash Park, and somehow we missed a turn and ended up doing 3.5 or so miles instead of 5k. This brewery is super tiny and we didn't have anywhere to sit for a while. Womp. 

Had a few beers and picked up some food from the restaurant next door. Unsure of what I might have done in the evening.
Sunday (43,013 steps) - Longmont Trail half marathon.
Rested and had lunch, then in the evening I met up with Maureen to carpool to the Trail Running Festival at Bear Creek. Again, no running, but it was a great evening with vendors, food and BEER. Another late night.
Laurie, Maureen & Colfax, Chris, me
Monday (17,090 steps) - Barre in the morning before work. The end.

Stats:
  • 161,250 steps
  • 19.1 miles run
  • No cross training, but lots of walking
  • 3 barre classes
Everything Else:
  • Yep, reminded of why dating is the worst. I have just become too accustomed to being by myself. The guy was nice enough, but the idea of him touching me made me uncomfortable, almost to the point of feeling violated. #single4life !!
  • Hip is... better, I say with hesitation. I did two runs over the weekend, both at a mid 13 pace. Which is MINUTES per mile slower than my slow pace.
  • Another week of rest, I guess.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week in Review (July 5 - July 11)

Tuesday (16,376 steps) - Mildly hungover and exhausted from the weekend. Hip felt like crap so I scheduled an appointment at Accelerate Health. The doctor I have seen in the past wasn't available, but I was able to get in to see someone else at lunch. I explained all my issues and she seemed to think it wasn't a tear or anything serious. She asked what my running plans were for the week and I told her I was taking the week off. She suggested I keep running??! Uh. I just told you it hurts and I'm limping even when I'm walking... I did not agree with her diagnosis. I did, however, agree that I should be using heat therapy as well. Making an appointment to see someone else if it's not better next week. After work I went to a special barre class - specifically for our Roost team. After class, Maureen and I went to Denver Beer Company. Out late AGAIN.
Wednesday (19,360 steps) - Super SUPER annoying day at work. For some reason I thought barre was at 12:30, so I arrived 15 minutes late (at 12:15) and missed the upper body portion. I think two days in a row might be a bit much right now.
Went to run club after work. Maureen and Colfax and I went to the local dirt track and did a SUPER SLOW (like 14:30 pace) and it was bearable. I was wearing my Hokas, and dirt doesn't bother me as much. Went to dinner at Garbanzo's after.
Thursday (17,798 steps) - Went to Belmar/Lakewood run club. No running (seriously!), but it was still a good time seeing everyone. Nachos and a beer at Rocko's and home around 10. Too old for this!


These are pretty much the most delicious nachos ever
Friday (16,705 steps) - Went to another barre class after work. New to me instructor and the class was way different than others. Rushed home after class for a quick dinner and then went to see the new Purge movie with Rose. It was ... ok. Gory and crass just for the sake of having a shock factor? Oh, and did you know that movies are over $11 a ticket now? I didn't, since I so rarely go.
Saturday (32,020 steps) - Up early for a mash-up Runners' Edge / Runners' Roost Brooks run. I hadn't even "jogged" since Wednesday, so once again, I moved to the slowest pace group and tested out the hip/leg. Had a great time running with the same folks I ran with last weekend. I decided to turn around with a goal of 6. I was going crazy slow, and nothing was "hurting," just the same general fatigue and aching.
Ran into Maureen who was out walking Colfax, so I cut the run short at 4.7 or so miles and walked the remainder with her. Loitered around the store until about 10 am and then headed over to Grandma's House for another beer run!
Sadly, we had to walk all of it (Maureen is on doctor's orders to not run and my hip is a jerk), but it was good times. The best food truck ever was there, and I had some tasty buffalo chicken mac n' cheese.


Didn't head home until after 2. Showered, took a nap (kind of), then ... drum roll ... I went on a date. Not sharing details for now, but it was fun and I didn't get home until after 11. Party animal!!!
Sunday (17,332 steps) - I knew I wasn't going to run, but I thought maybe I would go hiking. Then I didn't get up until after 8 and it was already a zillion and a half degrees, so I didn't do anything. I watched some TV, finished my book, then decided to walk to the library to return it. It was so hot, glad that walk was the extent of my outdoor time. Blech.
Solo lunch at Tokyo Joe's, grocery shopping and then headed to another barre class - this time Chris and Maureen joined! After class Maureen and I went to Denver Beer Company (again). Managed to only have one beer and then home for more TV. In bed way too late. Again.
Monday (17,165 steps) - I had high hopes of going for a trail run at Lair O' the Bear after work. Planned on taking it easy and seeing how the hip felt. Then I went to Accelerate Health and met with Kendelle (who is infinitely better than the gal I saw on Tuesday). She did some intense ART and needling. Her consensus is a bit different - EXTREMELY tight thigh/glut muscles, and thinks I will benefit from another few days of rest and coming back for some more needling. So there goes THAT... I'll heed my own advice (and that of Kendelle) and take MORE time off. Sad. So the rest of the evening was more TV and some walking on the treadmill.

Stats:
  • 136,756 steps
  • 9.9 miles "run" (actually, probably closer to 8, since during my Saturday run I walked the last 1.7 or so)
  • 12 miles of walking (yes, I'm logging walking right now)
  • 4 barre classes (225 minutes)
  • Weekly gain 0.2 (126.6) - Can I blame this on no running? Probably poor eating...
Everything Else:

  • Really loving my barre classes! I'm still working off my unlimited month pass. Not sure what I will do when the month is over. I love these classes so much and I really feel  like they are great exercise!
  • The hip/thigh/leg is still not great, obviously. My range of motion is definitely better than it has been, but it is still sore and achy. I am really hoping that all this resting will allow me to finish out my summer as planned, but I'm not getting my hopes up. This really sucks.
  • A is still in Texas, but should be back in a week or so. Will be really great to see her and get back to our normal routine.

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...