Friday, May 22, 2015

That's Done, What Now?!

Official race photo taken by Glenn Tachiyama.
This was coming back down from Patterson Mountain,
 pretty close to the finish of my 50k! 

There is absolutely a bit of post-race depression that can happen after finishing a goal race. For me, focusing on training for the 50k consumed a HUGE amount of my thoughts, energy and time for 16 weeks. Add that to the race itself being absolutely a highlight of my life! Now it's a little like, what do I do with myself?!

I spent the week after the race doing basically nothing. It's break time, there are no workouts on my calendar and I am doing a bit of stretching and yoga and that's it. 

Fortunately my body feels 100% fine. All of the little aches and pains I had leading up to the race were gone by race morning and never showed up again!

So what's next? While I feel like I want to pull out my credit card and start registering for every 50k in the area, that's just not realistic. I can't let how amazing the race was overshadow how difficult and time-consuming the training was. 

Doing another Rainshadow Running race is definitely high on my list. The races are well-organized, incredibly fun, in beautiful locations, and (maybe most importantly to me), they attract a decent sized crowd. I appreciated having so many other runners out on the Sun Mountain 50k course, which was very different from my first two marathons that had many long stretches of loneliness.

Rainshadow's last race of the year is the Deception Pass 50k in December, which of course looks amazing. A December 50k should give me enough time to step up my training again in the fall.

There is also the Point Defiance 30k (or 50k) in October. I ran this race last year on my birthday and just loved it. This race isn't particularly difficult, elevation-wise. It does have the disadvantage of most of the runners doing just one loop of the course, which is a 15k. It got a little lonely for the 30k, and I imagine even more so for the 50k. But it is a beautiful course and, if the weather is anything like it was last year, will be a perfect day for running. I doubt I would be ready for another 50k by then, but the 30k would be completely doable. 

Hopefully I can jump in to something shorter over the summer. There are the Cougar Mountain races in July and August, which are a lot of fun. 

The summer will definitely be spent improving my strength and flexibility, doing more yoga, and overall focusing on whatever I can do to make a strong, rock-solid running body. 

And, of course, there are longer-term goals cemented in my mind. 2016 will definitely hold a 50 miler. Maybe at Sun Mountain? Not sure, will have to research more, but it WILL happen! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sun Mountain 50k Race Recap

In a sentence, running the Sun Mountain 50k on May 16th was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned a great deal about my physical and mental toughness, and I also just enjoyed the hell out of almost every step of the race. I feel incredibly lucky to be strong and healthy enough to be able to run a 50k through some of the more beautiful landscape I had ever seen.

So here we go . . .

My family and I left our cozy cabin in Mazama to drive to the Chickadee Trailhead in Winthrop for the 10:00am start. Turns out I over-estimated things a bit, as we arrived pretty early. Of course my life motto is "better early than late!" so I was glad that I had more than enough time to organize myself, pin on my bib, chat with friends, use the porta potty, eat, hang out, and feel ready for the day ahead. Things felt great, and I was more relaxed and excited than nervous. 

With my wonderful family before the race. Picture by Stacey.

Selfie from Stacey before the race.

The race began and I was the last person across the start line. My Garmin wouldn't catch a signal so I held back hoping it would find one before I started running. No luck, however, and I was about .3 miles in before it kicked in. I was surprised by how fast the field was moving, about a 12:00 min/mile pace and I remained the last person for the first two miles! The panic briefly struck as I wondered if I would be left in the dust for the entire thing-- that was way too fast for me to run this race. 

The double track and dirt roads in the first section of the race were so dry. They kicked up a lot of dust and dirt. My feet, ankles and calves were starting to become covered with a dark layer of dirt and my shoes were collecting gravel. The trail was so much different than the trails I train on near home in western Washington. Even after many days without rain our trails remain damp, even muddy, under the protection of dense forest cover.

Luckily the field slowed down and I eventually caught up to my friend Stacey and some women from the High Heels Running Group. We ran together for a few miles, alternating between tree cover and open areas of sunflowers with views for miles. We remained a chatty group until we split up at the first aid station at Thompson Ridge. The volunteers were amazing and there were plenty of delicious things to eat and drink. I grabbed some grapes and an s-cap (salt capsule), sat down and dumped the gravel out of my shoes, and headed out of the aid station with Stacey.

Running with the HHRG ladies. Photo by Dawn.

Views for miles. Photo by Stacey.

Fields of sunflowers. Views for miles. Photo by Stacey.

Coming out of the aid station I was feeling pretty good, settled in to the run, and excited to see what the rest of the course would bring. The sun and heat were definitely present, but not stifling like I feared. My other big concern of the day mercifully never came to fruition: rattlesnakes. Didn't spot (or hear) a single one, whew!

We tackled a long climb up to the first aid station, but it was more gradual and runnable, not as hard as I expected it to be. After the aid station it was uphill a bit more, then downhill for a while after that. I didn't love this section of the course quite as much. The downhill was too technical for my wimpy sensibilities. I lost Stacey, who bombs downhills like a pro, and cautiously skidded my way down. 

About 10 miles in I decided it was finally time to find a tree for an on-the-go pee spot. Abandoning my pride and crossing my fingers, I stepped about a foot off the trail behind a tree. Of course several runners immediately came by.

A bit before the second aid station.

Once again I caught up to Stacey and we made it to the second aid station at Homestead. I had a drop bag there with everything I thought I might need but ended up just re-applying my sunscreen and calling it good. This aid station had watermelon, which tasted better than anything I could ever imagine and left me contemplating how to fit a whole one in my running pack. One of the many amazing volunteers helped me re-fill my water bladder, but it was a pain to get situated back in my pack. Annoyingly, I forgot to grab any food for the road or take my fig bars out of my drop bag like I had planned. Stacey and I left the aid station together but quickly became separated: I had a fire lit under my feet because I knew I would see my family soon, as they were waiting for me at Sun Mountain Lodge just a little ways up the course, but unfortunately Stacey wasn't feeling 100% at that point and hung back. 

The next couple of miles were amazing. I felt like I was floating and indeed busted out some of my fastest miles of the race. The trails were mostly under tree cover and when we emerged were treated with incredible views of the Methow valley. And then the deathly ascent up the back side of Sun Mountain Lodge began: almost a mile straight up wide open dirt in the hot sun. It was absolutely miserable. I pushed as hard as I could, one foot in front of the other without stopping, as I was 99% sure I wouldn't be able to start again if I did. At the top it was barely a shuffle across the lodge property to my family. It was amazing to see them. And God bless whoever installed a faucet and drinking fountain at this spot. I stopped to drink and soak my head with the cool water. After  lingering for a couple of minutes it was time to move along. It was a tough point in the race for me, there was a long ways to go, my legs didn't yet feel like moving again after that climb, and I didn't want to leave my family.

Cooling off at the water fountain. Photo from my husband Matt.

But the race must go on! There was a lovely descent for about a mile and a half and then . . . I hit, literally, the thing that almost ended my race. The trail in this section was quite narrow and the plants were growing over the edges. My right foot smashed in to what felt like a giant rock and I lurched forward, thankfully catching myself before I face-planted. Immediately my adrenaline surged but then I realized my smallest two toes were in bad shape. They hurt, a lot. I couldn't run. I slowed to a shuffle and a few people passed me. Then the tears came. I cried my way down the rest of the section of trail, wincing with pain every time my right foot hit the ground. I found a log to sit on, deciding I needed to take off my shoe and sock and assess the damage. Another runner, my trail angel!, came along and asked if I needed help. I started sobbing and said yes, I thought I had broken my toes. She explained she had experience as a nurse and said I needed to tape them together. Another runner, my second trail angel, appeared, a gentleman who had tape and a scissors in his pack. The first runner taped over my socks (because I had on my beloved injinjis, which are toe socks). This was especially amazing of her because her legs were cramping up when she bent over. It hurt even more as she taped them (which she warned me would happen). I thanked them both and waved them on their way as I dug some pain killers out of my pack (note to self: refill painkiller and add tape to first aid bag!). It was then more hobbling/shuffling/crying for another mile or so before I realized I could likely walk the rest of the race without getting cut-off. I didn't want to walk my race, but it was better than DNFing.

The one benefit of walking for a bit was getting a chance to chat with other runners. Some familiar faces caught up and said hi. It took my mind off of my foot a little bit.

At the last aid station at Patterson Lake I hoped to find someone with medical training to look more closely at it, but they didn't have anyone. Since I wasn't feeling as much acute pain, there was only one thing to do: onward and upward.

At the Patterson Lake aid station I made another minor mistake, which was not re-filling my water or taking any non-gummy snacks. Somehow everything in my pack was chews or gels, which I do not like eating very much of on long runs. Forcing myself to choke that stuff down for the last miles of the race wasn't the most fun. I missed my fig bars and cookies! Fortunately I was able to make it the entire race with good energy levels and zero tummy issues despite lacking my preferred fuel.

Coming out of the aid station I was able to run a bit before the course turned uphill again. This section was very technical and overgrown, so it was all walking for about two miles. The views were breathtaking as the course wound it's way up a mountainside. A herd of horses wearing jangling cowbells grazed off the trail. Eventually, we came to a step ladder that brought us up and over a fence. Navigating the ladder was a bit tricky on tired legs!


It was about this point in the race that I finally realized how cruel James Varner, the race director, really is. The course went up, and up, and up, and then when it appeared we would be done with the up, the final push to the top of Patterson Mountain began. We just had to climb to the top, turn around, and come back down. It was, in a word, insane. Somehow it didn't end up feeling as bad as the climb to Sun Mountain Lodge, even though it was longer and later in the race.

Tough to see, but there is a trail and teeny tiny runners heading up this climb. 

Hanging out at the top of Patterson Mountain.

View from the top. My Garmin says the climb was 1200 feet in 2 miles.

I was dreading the downhill, sure that it would kill my toes. Tucking in behind a group of three women, it felt like we were moving at the perfect speed. The pace was quick but manageable and most amazing of all-- my toes didn't scream at me! I followed the group for a good chunk of the downhill until they stopped for a break. Down and down towards Patterson Lake I continued along on my own, crossing a road about a mile from the finish line. One guy passed me, but otherwise I was alone on this section. The energy I felt on the way down Patterson Mountain had disappeared and I was once again shuffling. Then speed walking. Then I turned down Chickadee trail and could hear the cheers from the finish line off in the woods. Time to run it in. I turned a corner and saw a few people cheering, and another person shouted "100 yards to the finish!". I didn't think I would cry, but the crowd and cheering and finish line was amazing. I blubbered for a second, hugged James Varner, and began searching for my family.

With Wendy from HHRG. Photo from Wendy. 

I was disappointed that my family and I mis-communicated a bit about my finish time so they were not there to see me cross the finish line. All was well, however, as we met up a few minutes later, grabbed food (wood-fired pizza, yum!) and settled in to watch more runners come in. It was so fun to hug and congratulate friends and soak in the energy of the day. Then the mosquitoes came out in full force and it has time to head back to the cabin, haha.

I am proud that I crushed every single one of my race goals -- finish the race, feel strong, and enjoy it, all hopefully in seven hours (My official time was 6:59:31!).

The next morning, as I slipped on my running shoes to head out in the backyard of the cabin and take in the beauty of the Methow Valley, I just wanted to get right back on those trails. The "race amnesia" had already set in, I was ready for round two! My legs felt decent afterwards, and despite the awkward compensations I was making for my hurt toes, I didn't throw anything off in the rest of my body. Now a few days after the race, my toes seem okay, thankfully not broken as far as I can tell. Whew!

This 50k 100% fueled my desire to run more, and longer, distance races. Hopefully there will be more Rainshadow Running races in my near future! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's Finally Here! Tomorrow's the Day!

All the training . . . and it's finally here. Over the past few weeks I kept thinking about the idea of how the time will pass, whether you sit your ass on the couch or get out there and do something with yourself, so you better make the most of that time. I feel like the training for my first 50k definitely squeezed the most out of the past 16 (and really, many more!) weeks. 

Putting in weeks and weeks of work means I get to toe the start line to run a distance that feels, more than anything, incredibly exciting. 

Can. Not. Wait.

Several people have asked if I am nervous, and you know what? I'm really not. Not about the distance, anyways. I am about the heat. I am excited.

This past week has been incredibly exhausting, however. It is way more stressful than it really should be getting everything ready to go out of town for four days to run a race. First there is all of the planning. Lots of lists have to be made! Then shopping, lots of shopping, because I can't get everything at one store, and forget and/or not realize I needed things and had go back to these stores again and again. And the dog got sick, so there was an extra vet visit, picking up dog medicine (that stuff is expensive!). There was running kids around to their activities. And volunteering. And a last chiro appointment. And workouts to fit in. And then the cleaning. Allllll of the cleaning. Having a house/pet sitter is fantastic, but that means I can't leave the house messy and everything from linens to floors to bathrooms need to be cleaned. Don't forget the packing! Packing to run the longest race you've ever run is tricky, you have to remember every. single. thing. Man, I hope I didn't forget anything.


Planning for trips is way too stressful. Hopefully the pay off is a fun trip! The girls get two days off of school, so automatically that is pretty awesome. 

All I know is, I am looking forward to running 50k through the mountains, because it will feel less stressful than the past few days have been. All I need to think about is putting one foot in front of the other. Easy breezy. 

See you on the other side! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sun Mountain 50k Goals

It's coming up. Three days away. 50k, also known as 31 miles, through the beautiful mountains and meadows in the Methow valley. I have been focused on training since January, but of course was building up to that volume of running well before then. It doesn't even feel real that the race is finally so close.

Obviously, my number one goal for the race is to finish. No DNF! It's going to be very warm out there, which means I need to pay extra attention to not pushing too hard and hydrating well with electrolytes. Heat exhaustion is no joke. I have no doubt that I am ready to run that far. I actually feel like I did a great job training, so we'll see if that effort parlays in to a strong race.

Which leads me to my next goal: feel strong. I don't want to crawl/limp/suffer through the race. Even in the heat. Hopefully I can run "comfortably strong", which means I have no intention of running hard at this race, just enjoying it and feeling good. 

Ah, enjoy it! Yes, I am sure that is closely connected to feeling strong. The stronger I feel, the more enjoyable my run will be. Hopefully I can be present in the moment, even if things are getting rough, and just fully embrace the beauty of the trails and my surroundings.

So: finish the race, feel strong, enjoy it. 

I don't necessarily have a time goal-- the thing about trail running is the trails can be so very different, so it's hard to have any idea of when I will finish. I would like to do it in 7 hours if possible, if only because I think that will be the very absolute longest my Garmin will go without dying, haha. The heat will be a factor and slow me down, but since I am such a novice, I have no idea how much.

Ready to do this! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

On Aches and Volunteering

This training cycle has left me with a host of aches and pains (though thankfully I am currently feel 99% perfect!). Recently my chiropractor told me to start stretching my hip flexors in order to decrease the tightness and achiness in my right hamstring. I thought, "huh?!" but like a good little patient, I went home and started doing the stretches every day. I mean at least five times a week.

There are many different hip flexor stretches, this is the one I do:

image from

Instead of a chair, I put my back foot up on to a wall. Hold the pose for two minutes per side and do it every day!

The crazy part? It has helped tremendously! My hamstring has felt great on my last few runs, including my last long run at Cougar on Saturday.

Before my Saturday run I volunteered at the Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series race. One of my goals has been to give back a little more to the running community and trails that I love so much. This particular trail run series donates a huge amount of money to King County Parks and Recreation, so volunteering helps the runners have a great race, and the more runners that register, the more money the parks (including Cougar!) get! Win-win.

It was a beautiful day to hang out on the trails with some other wonderful folks cheering on the racers and making sure they were fueled, hydrated, and headed in the right direction. Everyone was out on the course, from young to old, from super speedy to out for a stroll. When the volunteer shift ended my friend and I ran the last two miles of the five mile course back to the start/finish area, then headed out to run the entire five mile course. It was a perfect run! My last "long" run before the 50k, eek! Funny how seven miles feels like nothing these days. All in perspective!

Have to share that we made a friend out on the trail:

I have a good eye for slugs on the trail, but this is the first snail I have spotted! This time I realized the trick to photographing them is to rest my phone on the ground to help my camera focus a bit better.

Looking forward to doing more volunteering/running for this race series in the future. Be sure to check out the Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series if you are looking to either test your speed on the trails or just get out there and enjoy the day. I promise to cheer for you from the aid station!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Why Do I Run?

My ten, almost 11!, year old, Iris, has been more interested in my running lately. She asks about my runs and other workouts and seems genuinely interested/impressed and understands the magnitude of the distances I take on. Obviously that is flattering, but what I most want is to help instill her in the idea of it's possible.

She has also been reading The Oatmeal comics recently and I handed her the copy of The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances that I had recently checked out from the library. She loved it. She finished the whole thing and then turned to me and said, "mommy, why do you run?"

I looked at her and didn't really have an answer more poignant other than, "well, because I like to?" It wasn't enough, not NEARLY enough, but in the moment I couldn't think of much else. I did explain how running was just one of many, many ways to be fit and healthy, I just happen to enjoy running the most.

Last Wednesday I dragged myself out the door for my first post-26.2 run. I had no idea how it would go and was a little nervous. The plan was a slow walk/jog for 3-4 miles and then reward myself with a Top Pot doughnut for my efforts.

I did the run (my body felt okay) and got my doughnut (it tasted amazing) and as I sat on Alki beach enjoying the post-run endorphins and sugar high I finally found some words for why I run: 

Because when I finish a run, it is the best I ever feel.

Sometimes that feeling hits me while I am still running, but it always comes at the end of the run.

Maybe that is what the "runner's high" is, but it almost feels more grand than that, because the feeling transforms my entire worldview. Suddenly life is right. I feel good about my body's ability to carry me through long, difficult runs and my body image sky-rockets. And then my love-fest begins to ooze in to other parts of my life: I feel madly in love with everything. Any annoyance about stuff or other people's negative opinions disintegrate in to thin air. When I run, I am fucking awesome and am worthy of everything. 

My daughter has asked to start running with me, and I have no idea if she will take to it, but if she does, I hope she can get a small taste of that feeling. As a pre-teen heading in to middle school I can only imagine how helpful it would be to have an outlet that helps you escape from the negative and helps you feel your very best. I know I would have appreciated that when I was her age. I still appreciate it now. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

April(ish) in Review

Holy Moly. April(ish) was a big month for me. My highest monthly training volume ever! I had two weeks that were almost at 50 miles. Whew! And I didn't fall apart! Some days I am pretty sure my legs are being held together by rapidly fraying thread, but all in all, I am holding together. 

I say April(ish) because instead of counting my mileage from the first of the month to the end, I counted five complete Monday - Sunday weeks from March 30th to May 3rd. I hit 188.3 miles for that time period with 20,042 feet of elevation gain. 

My last run during April(ish) was this past Saturday. I met up with the High Heels Running Group for a run at Cougar Mountain. Showing up to the runs when I don't know anyone there is pretty intimidating for an introvert like me, but a goal of mine is to force myself to meet other trail runners and hopefully make more running friends! My more immediate goal at this particular run was to meet other women running at Sun Mountain in a couple of weeks. When the running group is large I either kind of hang around eavesdropping on conversations and/or find one buddy to chat with. Then if I stick around long enough to keep running after the main run is over I will often find one gal or a small group to hang with and have an easier time chatting. I also met another runner that will be volunteering with me at an aid station for a race at Cougar Mountain this weekend. She is extremely nice and it made me that much more excited to get to help out at the race. 

I am excited that I now know a handful of women who are running either the Sun Mountain 50k or 50 miler (yes, miler! She is amazing!). Seeing some familiar faces on the trails will be a lot of fun. The ladies gave me advice to make sure I am taking in enough electrolytes during the race since it should be pretty warm and also a lot of the route is through meadows and other exposed areas. I haven't yet been low on electrolytes during a run (at least, not that I knew of!) and want to make sure I pack some stuff to ensure I am okay with the conditions at Sun Mountain. Probably some salt packets or extra nuun tablets will suffice. 

Heading in to my second week of taper I am just loving the down time. There have been a lot of stretching/foam rolling/ball rolling/yoga sessions at home and I *think* it's been helping! On my 10 miler I had zero crankiness from any part of my lower extremities, which has become par for the course the past few weeks.

Less than two weeks to go!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On the Taper

Whew. Glad I have the marathon behind me. I *think* I made it all in one piece, I suppose I will find out when I try to run again! By Monday afternoon my legs felt okay, or rather, just as sore as they usually do on a Monday, haha, so that was good.

But now it's officially taper time! Thankfully my chiropractor reminded me that cutting back doesn't just mean running less miles on the long run. It means cutting back allllllll week long. Will do! That doesn't mean cutting back on how much I eat, does it?! Oh, dear.

My schedule originally had me doing barre class and running on Tuesday (ie two days post-marathon). Hahahahahaha. I must have been drunk when I wrote that out. I bailed on both workouts and headed to the pool, instead. Last week I ordered several pairs of swimming goggles because the ones I had were so awful. They cut in to my nose and leaked and fogged up, they were a mess. On Monday a box full of goggles showed up at my door! I picked the pair that seemed to fit me the best and tried them out on Tuesday's swim. Absolutely LOVED them. I have such a high nose bridge that all of the googles I have tried already seriously hurt and it was frustrating. This pair still pressed in to my nose, but the nose piece is wider and softer so it didn't hurt.

Aqua Sphere Kaiman Goggle Clear Lens
Aqua Sphere Kaiman Goggles

I wasn't sure how long I would want to swim, usually I do up to 40 minutes and am dying to get out of the pool by the end (see above rant about ill-fitting goggles). This time I swam for just over an hour and it felt great. I am a terrible lap swimmer, incredibly slow for how darn long my limbs are, and am not good at breathing during my crawl stroke. I decided to try and improve my breathing pattern and was able to figure out breathing on both sides. I am sure I look like I am practically drowning as I putter my way down the lane, but I'm getting there! 

And on another note, it's watermelon season!

Watermelon is the very best nuun flavor EVER. I need to be careful not to drink too much! There is a lot of sodium in nuun which is good when you're exercising, not so good when you're laying on the couch tapering . . . 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Eagle Marathon: Race Recap

Stepping up the start line of Sunday's marathon I was completely calm, relaxed, just ready to do it. I was sure-- sure!-- that it would be just another long run and I would just enjoy it and be able to check that training box off my chart.

Carb loading dinner. That beer was super yum. Not pictured: carrot cake.

Ha! Is a marathon ever just another run? And not that I wanted easy, I just assumed it would be easier than, say, my last marathon. After all, it was just a training run. Not a goal race. 

But it was so, so hard. Not at all of it, just the second half. SO. HARD. I might have sputtered out "goddammit" more than once. Maybe. 

The goal was to run the Spring Eagle trail marathon as my last long run before the 50k. Sally signed on to run the half marathon, which would be the first half of my marathon. I was so grateful she was there! Hanging out before the race start we also got to chat with Arnold, a friend I have known for quite a while on instagram, which was fun.

Hanging with Arnold pre-race.

After a brief pre-race meeting the smallish group of us running the 50k, marathon, 20 miler and half marathon took off running. Sally and I fell in to an easy pace on our first loop. The course is 6.57 mile loops. So I had four loops to run. The first loop felt super comfortable. Like I was at a "run all day" pace. I think we ran the second loop even a tiny bit faster. We finished the first half in about 2:40-ish. I felt like it was much easier than the last half marathon I ran there (the one with the crazy puddles!) but we ran only about 4 minutes slower. 

Sally and I having fun! Photo from the event.

Luckily the weather held out for us the entire day. Overcast and dry. The trails were mostly dry with a few muddy spots that we easily skirted around.

There was one aid station in the center of the figure-eight shaped course and I loaded up on fig newtons and chips ahoy cookies almost every time I passed it. YUM. There was also an aid station at the end of the loop, so you get to stop three times. I packed enough food and water to not need to stop, but I ended up taking about half of my food from the aid stations. The volunteers were all friendly and it was so nice of them to be out there so long for those of us making a whole day out of the race! 

I sadly said goodbye to Sally when her race was over and set out for my third loop. The course was just totally empty by the point. I saw two other runners on the entire loop third loop. I also was starting to hurt. My hamstring was sore and I was getting nervous that I might not be able to complete the race. It helped to stick in my earbuds and listen to music to keep my mind off of the discomfort and worry.

Once I finished that loop I perked up a bit. I chatted a bit with Rachael, a runner I met through High Heels Running Group, and re-gained some energy. One loop left! My hamstring calmed down slightly but was joined in soreness by my entire lower half. I oddly felt better once everything was sore. It was another lonely loop. I looked forward to seeing the flags and signs marking the course, and mentally making a note that with every step I was going over a part of the trail I wouldn't have to run over again that day! I walked/ran that loop slightly faster than my third loop, slower than my first two. I felt like I was running sloppily, catching my toes on the trail and slipping a bit on the mud, and didn't feel that strong. It felt impossible to get in a groove at all. I muttered more swear words and attempted to pep-talk my body in to getting it's shit together.

Rachael and I spotted two deer off of the trail as we began our last loop.

My Garmin was showing a shorter mileage (at the end of the race it was 24.5) so I asked the volunteers at the aid station how much farther to the finish line. 2 1/2 miles they said! I shuffled to the finish line and when I crossed there were a few people around cheering and that was it. I beat my family to the finish because I crossed earlier than I told them I thought I would, so I grabbed a snack, a bottle of beer to bring home, and my raffle prize from the race director and hung out for a few minutes. 

I finished about 40 minutes faster than my first marathon, but I am not sure what that means, because this race had less than half of the elevation. It would make sense, I suppose, that my foggy memory tells me my first race was "better" because I had also properly tapered for it since it was a goal race.

Post-race "ice" bath, sans actual ice.
Thinking of sitting in icy cold water got me through many miles of the race!

Up next: taper then 50k. Gulp. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

End of the Week Updates

Two days until the trail marathon. Gulp. I have been watching the weather like a crazy obsessed maniac, and it has changed over and over and over. Currently it's look perfect (again), so we'll see what happens! 

It has been an interesting week of training. I am staying on top of all of my workouts but haven't been walking quite as much as I usually do, which isn't worrying. When I saw my chiropractor I complained of just being worn out and frustrated about my hamstring soreness. She asked me about my cut-back weeks in training and I realized at that moment then only thing I ever cut back on was my long runs, assuming that was enough. I see now it probably wasn't and should have been scaling other things back, as well, so I will file that away in my brain for my next training cycle. We also talked about things I did differently in my 30k training and I mentioned that back then I did two yoga sessions a week. Now I am down to maybe one since I had to cut my yoga sessions at my favorite studio out of the budget. Boo hoo for me. But hmmm . . . . coincidence? I am going to start doing yoga again twice a week on my own or at my gym and cut out one strength session and see if there is any change. I also need to focus less on trying to foam roll my hamstring and focus more on stretching my hip flexor, which is very tight on that side. 

Barre and one strength session should suffice right now, however. Barre is so hard. I was still sore on Thursday from my Tuesday barre class! 

After this marathon I am in a three week taper and will focus on stretching/yoga and just really tapering. Hay will be in the barn and I want to make sure my hamstring will carry me through the 50k.

On another note, I have been thinking about what I will carry with me for fuel on the 50k. While picking some things up at Super Supplements the other day I found these cookies:

This particular cookie is about 400 calories and is pretty good sized, so I cut it in to 4 wedges for 100 calorie snacks. SO YUM. The only issue is poppy seeds in the teeth afterwards, which is annoying. 

I have also been thinking quite a bit about what I will focus on after the 50k. Summer isn't good for a heavy training schedule, plus I NEED to scale things back for a bit, so I think I will focus on less running and also more on strength and nutrition. I have been reading a great book called Racing Weight and while I am a bit too overwhelmed with training right now to seriously put the ideas in to practice, this summer might be a great time to give it more effort. Get me ready for a fall training program, perhaps? Will be writing more about Racing Weight in a future post. Just love the ideas (my favorite: endurance athletes need carbs!)