Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

I keep trying to start a blog post for updates, and then a week later, I'll realize that I forgot to do it. For example, I started this post on 6/3/2014, a week ago. That cycle keeps continuing. I've decided to just skip all of the mini updates that I wanted to do, and just post something (which is better than nothing, right?).

My running has pretty much gone to crap recently. I think it's a combination of burn-out and tightness. I've recently had some plantar fasciitis-type pain in my left foot. As long as I pay attention to how my foot lands on the ground, it doesn't bother me a whole lot. But if I get lazy, then it becomes a problem. As of this morning, I haven't run for a week, and it's still bothering me a little. I think it has something to do with my cycling shoes, so I'm looking into orthotics for those shoes to see if it helps. I also need to stretch my calves more, I think, because they have been ridiculously tight as well.

I'm also experiencing a bit of frustration (because of the above issues), and some burnout as well. I've been training for the Andy Payne marathon (Sept) and 24 the Hard Way ultra (Oct). Someone recently brought up the Hotter'n Hell Hundred bike ride, which is in late August. I quickly realized that there was no way that I could train for both the ultra and the HH100, and it wasn't hard for me to lean towards the cycling event. So I've decided to put off the ultra for a few years, and used my fall school schedule as an excuse. But I'm also not feeling the marathon. They haven't even announced the date yet, and that sort of disorganization really irritates me. So it wasn't a very hard decision to sit out, although I did struggle a bit about ditching 2 marathon plans in a row. Right now, I'd say I'm about 90% sure that I am going to take a brief step back! and then focus on PRing the SOS half in October. I haven't really decided on a training plan. I thought about using another Hal Higdon plan, but I don't really like the idea of dropping back down to 5 mile long runs. But maybe that's what I need? Alternatively, I could run 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then cycle through 8, 10, and 12 mile long runs. Idk. I'm probably not going to run again until Thursday, or maybe even until next Sunday, so I have some time to think about it. Also, race fees are a big part of the issue. I just can't afford to do as many races as I want to. So HH100, the Gravedigger, and the SoS Half are probably the only races I'll do for the rest of the year.

Now, on to the bike. I've had my bike for a little over 3 months so far. I didn't really get to ride it much for the first 4 weeks because we got snow or ice every weekend it seemed, so I've basically been riding since mid-March. I'm moving right along in mileage-my longest ride so far has been 55 miles. I've moved on to clipless pedals, and I've fallen 3x. Two Saturdays ago, I had my first wreck. My friend Heather and I went to the OBS 70 mile training ride. I went into it wanting to do 70, but ok with doing the 55 mile alternative route if need be. However, things did not go as planned. Heather and I were comfortably riding between the medium pace group and the slow group. It started raining, and we missed a turn. We eventually got back on course, but then we both went down because of wet railroad tracks. I ended up with some road rash on my hip, but nothing overly serious. My bike (Luna) is ok. Heather bloodied her knee and had some bad bruising. By the time we got to the convenience store where we were supposed to meet up, the group had left us (not maliciously-they thought we had gone on ahead). Heather didn't want to continue, so she called her husband. I rode 13 miles alone, trying to catch up with someone. I took the 55 mile route. Heather and her husband eventually caught up with me in their car, and took my bike and me ahead about a mile or 2 until we found someone for me to ride with. I finished with 54 miles. Lessons learned: don't miss any turns, and be sure to get someone's phone number so you can communicate (I ended up fb messaging 2 people to let them know what had happened). Also, wet railroad tracks are devious.

Like I said above, I'm thinking about doing the HH100. This weekend, I am doing the 44 mile route of miles4smiles, and then next weekend is the Tour de Cure (62 miles). I have some friends who are doing it, but I'm not entirely sure I should. The overholser group ride last week was disgustingly hot (99F at 6pm), and it sucked. But the HH100 starts in the morning, so maybe I could handle it. We'll see.

Finally, some of my fav pics from the Warrior Dash:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

St. Patrick's day freeze-fest, training plans, and 30 day challenges

I finally ran my first race of the year-a St. Patrick's Day 5K on March 16. The weather conditions were less than ideal: the air temp was 37F, but felt like 21F thanks to the 30mph winds. Thankfully, I warmed up after about a mile, but I had a headwind while going uphill and then a tailwind while going downhill. I wasn't sure if I was going to launch off into flight or not! These are my results:

Chip time: 29:09 (pace=9:23)
Overall: 349/1224 (top 29%)
Females: 129/775 (top 17%)
F30-34: 36/161 (top 22%)

Not too shabby for my first race of the year.

I talked to some people about the HITs marathon, and they all told me to steer clear, for various reasons. So I've decided to hope that they hold Andy Payne (~Sept 14), and then I am going to do 24 the Hard Way (12hr road option) on Oct 25. I'm pretty excited about this plan! I don't know how it's going to work out with having school 4 nights a week in the fall, but I'll figure it out. I'm also doing the OKC Tour de Cure on June 21. I combined training plans for all 3 races to make a massive 31-week training plan that started last week. The first 3 weeks are "get back in the game" weeks, so I'm not pushing too much and just trying to get my body closer to some sort of shape. The laundry list of injuries/sore spots is still a little long. I've had some issues with pain in my butt, and I think it might be piriformis syndrome. It flares up if I even look at a hill, so for now I'm staying away from hills and speedwork, and making best friends with my foam roller and stretching a lot. I went to Denton, TX, last weekend for the DFW Fiber Fest, and I did a hilly 6 mile run on Saturday morning. It took 2 days for my butt to stop hurting lol. Anyway, this is what I think my race schedule is going to look like for this year. I haven't 100% decided to do the Friday night 5K series yet, but it's in the list for now.

April 19: Remember the Ten 10K
May 17: Warrior Dash
June 21: OKC Tour de Cure
June 27: HOT 5K
July 13: Du Draper Duathlon
July 18: HOTTER 5K
Aug 30: Choctaw Nation 5K?
Sept 6: Gravedigger
Sept 14: Andy Payne Marathon
Oct 5: SoS Half
Oct 19: Fall Classic Duathlon
Oct 25: 24 the Hard Way

In order to prep for the Warrior Dash, I'm doing 3 30-day challenges.
1: Plank Challenge (note: it starts with 20sec; I am doing 1min until it advances past that)
2: Push-up Challenge
3: Squat Challenge

So far, I'm 3 for 3.  Yesterday, I did 1/2 of the plank time and 1/2 of the push-ups in the evening in addition to the full amount in the morning. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to keep up doing both.

Next up, my Bia came! I'm going to wait until I've done a long run before I post about it. I used it for a very brief .1 mile run in my apt complex parking lot on Monday, and then a 12ish mile bike ride last night. Very excited!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

There's good news and bad news

I'll start with the bad news first (because the good news is fantastic!). After 6 weeks of training for the 2014 OKC Memorial Marathon, I decided that I need to sit out this time. It was a hard decision to make, but I feel pretty good about it now. I've had recurring hip issues since mid-January, and none of my runs have been at the pace that they needed to be (10:16 or better). I am at an early enough point in my running career that I will not be happy with anything less than a PR in longer races. Maybe in a few years, after I've had more experience, I won't expect a PR every time (ex: I don't expect PRs in 5Ks now!). I don't want to spend $120 on a race fee just to be disappointed with my results. I think that sitting out is wise. I came to this conclusion after my last long run. I was supposed to do 15 miles, but only managed 10.55. I was slow, my hips and feet hurt, and I got winded way too easily. I've taken roughly a week off from running. Starting either later this week or perhaps next Monday, I will begin a maintenance plan so that I don't lose my running base. I really think that the 5 week break that I took after the RT66 marathon is part of the cause of my hip troubles. My hip flexors tightened up, to the point where it was hard to even walk. After a week off, things are much better. I'm giving it a few more days so I can be sure that things are in proper working order. I've been stretching and foam rolling a lot. So that's that.

Because I'm not doing the Memorial, my options for a fall marathon have opened up a little bit. There are 2 local possibilities: The Andy Payne Marathon around the 2nd week of September, or the HITS marathon on Oct 12. I had planned to do HITS because there wasn't enough time between the Memorial and starting to train for Andy Payne, and HITS starts and ends less than 5 mins away from my apt. I would just stick with the schedule as-is, except that I found 24 The Hard Way, on Oct 25. It's a 24 hour ultramarathon, with 12 and 6 hour options. Now, obviously, I can't do HITS if I want to do 24 the hard way. 2 weeks between them isn't enough time. Also, I know that I can't do 24 hours, but I'd like to think that 12 is possible. But maybe I should shoot for 6 on the first time? I really like the idea of doing Andy Payne in September, the SoS half in early October, and then 24 the hard way at the end of October. Andy Payne got some poor reviews last year, mostly because of a lack of water stops. Since I always do longer runs/races with a fuel belt, it likely wouldn't be a huge issue for me. But those issues are something to think about. They also haven't yet posted any details about this year's race, and I don't want to plan for a race that won't happen.

Now for the super great news: I bought a road bike!

I named her Luna (after HP's Luna Lovegood). She's a 44cm 2013 Specialized Dolce Elite Compact. I got a great deal on her because she's last year's model. I was looking at Trek Lexas and the lowest level Specialized Dolce, but this bike fell into the price range because of the discount. I am so excited! I've only gotten to ride her twice. I only have one pair of cycling shorts; I've ordered more clothes. I still need to get the hang of shifting, because I'm not really sure that I'm doing it right. I mean, I know how to shift, but I'm not sure that I'm in the correct gear. I need to make some cycling friends. I found a beginner ride put on by the Oklahoma Bicycling Society called the Donut ride. I think I want a couple more weekends on my own before I try to join them, but I definitely want to ride with them a few times. I am signed up for a Tour de Cure in OKC on June 21. (Please support me if you can!) My uncle is really into TdC in Tampa, and he's coming all the way out here to ride this one with me. Other than that, I think I'd like to try duathlons. I don't have time to add swimming in until after I graduate in 2016, so triathlons are out for now. I found a du in May called March in Okarche-it's a 5K run/30K bike/5K run. I think that I could do it, but after looking at a video of the race from 2012, I'm not so sure. Cyclists are a little intense lol. If that doesn't work out, there's also a du in July that I could try. I am so excited about Luna! :D

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 was a good year, running-wise

I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot. Oh well. I'll keep this short and sweet.

In 2013, I:
  • Ran 1001.35 miles (compared to 423.06 in 2012)
  • Raced 11 times (vs 5 in 2012)
  • Set new PRs in every distance that I ran (5K, Half, Full, obstacle run)
  • Set a 53 min PR in my second marathon
  • bought 3 new pairs of running shoes
  • conquered shin splints
  • took a 5 week break after the 2nd marathon (hence the reason why I only ran 9 miles in December)
  • Ran 2 obstacle mud runs. I hated the first one (as did my bootcamp teammates), and loved the second one.
I have several things planned already for 2014. I'm going to run the Memorial Marathon again, but instead of repeating the RT66 marathon in Nov, I think I will run the HITS marathon on Oct 12 instead. It starts less than 3 mins away from my apartment, and the route actually passes it twice. I won't have to travel, and DH won't have to go far to cheer me on. My first race ever was a 10K in April 2012, and I haven't run another 10K since then. I want to lower the PR in that distance, so I'm planning to run the Remember the Ten 10K in Stillwater in April. I'm doing a Warrior Dash in May with my bootcamp friends, and I'm fairly sure that we'll do the Gravedigger again in September. I'm sure there will be a ton of 5Ks in the summer too.

Next thing to look forward to: my 2 year runniversary is Jan 20. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

RT 66 Marathon Recap

I survived! It was so stinkin cold. The temp at start time was 24F, and never got above 27F. This is what I looked like prior to the start:

I had absolutely zero plans of freezing to death prior to the marathon. One of my friends went with me to cheer me on (and drive me home). Luckily we found an open lobby of an apartment building and took refuge until it was time to go to the corrals.

This is what I actually wore to run in, plus the gloves and facewarmer in the previous pic:
For future reference, the top is: UA tank, Nike thermafit longsleeved shirt (w/thumbsleeves), and a bcg jacket for the outer layer. I wore UA thermals on the bottom, smartwool PhD socks, UA hat, and Nike gloves. I also wore a cheap $1 knitted headband thingy from walmart over my nose and mouth to keep my lungs from burning.

I warmed up around 2 miles into the race. I had handwarmers in my gloves, and they were essential to my survival. The outside of my right foot hurt for the first 6 miles. I think that might be an injury, but I'm choosing to ice it and ignore it for now. Everything else was going great until my knees started hurting around mile 11. I can blame my IT bands for that. Thankfully, I'd kept up with my foam rolling, so my hips didn't hurt, and the knee pain wasn't awful. Around mile 22, my body was tired and the mental aspect of the marathon came into play (see pic below lol). I originally planned to stay with the 5hr pacer and then speed up to the 4:45 pacer if I could; thankfully this plan did not work out. I never saw the 5:00 pacer; at the beginning of the race I saw the 2:25 Half pacer and decided to stay in her vicinity. Around mile 25 or so, the 4:45 pacer caught me. I saw her, and told her that I needed to stay ahead of her in order to meet my goals. She told me that she was on pace, maybe 40 seconds ahead. I stayed ahead of her for the rest of the race. For the last .1 mile, I passed this random dude. He sped up. Then I sped up. And then we proceeded to race each other to the finish line. It was exactly the push I needed, and the guy thanked me afterwards-turns out it was just what he needed too.

I don't normally post proofs, but this pic is just priceless. The only way I could deal with the mental aspect of the run after mile 22 or so was to get angry. This is probably why I have frown furrows permanently etched between my eyebrows.

 But I did manage to take a nice pic too.

I finished!

It took us forever to get back to our hotels via the shuttles, but eventually we made it. I felt like I'd never be warm again!

And now, for the important part: I achieved a 53 minute PR! My time in the OKC marathon was 5:36:49; my time in the RT 66 marathon was 4:43:02! I beat both of my goals: sub-5hr and 4:45. I'm pretty excited! I know that I'm still slow compared to a lot of other runners, but I am making progress and that's what matters. :D

Always one to have a plan and a schedule, I start training for the 2014 OKC Memorial Marathon on Dec 23. I'm going to try to take a running break for at least a week. I tried to do a short shakeout run on Monday, and only made it 0.25 miles before quitting. My right knee just froze up, and that was that. I've been foam rolling regularly. I've had to ice my foot too. I hope that whatever is going on with my foot just goes away. ::fingerscrossed::

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Let the taper begin!

I ran the big 20 miler today! I am officially in the taper now. Last time, I was a little bit crazy in the taper. This cycle, I am very excited to taper. None of my long runs have been fabulous, until today. I struggled a little bit in the last 2 miles, but I started fingerspelling country and state names in order to mentally distract myself from the pain. Yay for studying while running! My knees were hurting a bit.

Only one mile was over 11 mins, and it was just barely there (11:01). Runner's World tells me that this time will lead to a 4:30 marathon time, but I don't think I can maintain my pace through the last 6.2 miles. Sub-5 hours is definitely possible (and that's my goal), but I think my time could possibly be 4:45. It depends on the hills. My long run route is relatively flat, and the marathon is quite hilly. I've been working on hills though, so we'll see how it goes. Adrenaline should have some affect as well.

I have decided that I will not do sprints during the taper. My IT bands have been pretty tight lately, and I think that sprinting is contributing to that. I'll still do hills though. After today's run, I'm excited to see what I can do after a taper. The RT 66 marathon is going to be fantastic! :D

Friday, October 11, 2013

Over halfway done!

Ok, so we can all agree that I suck at blogging. But I'm busy with work, school, plus I have to actually run. This is week 12 of training. So far, it's going fairly well. There have been some weird issues going on, but I'm trying to figure out how to manage them. I've run 5 races so far: 3 5Ks, one obstacle run, and one half marathon. I've got 2 new PRs and 1 age group placing. As Inigo says, "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up..." (kudos to you if you have to complete that quote in your head. We should be friends!)

8/16/13: Hottest Friday Night 5K
28:32 (almost a PR! dang it), ave pace 9:12. Wiley Post Park, 82F
21/68 in F25-29

Sizzling Summer series overall: (rankings based on gun time)
F25-29: 9/34 (top 26.5%) <----top 10 of my age group, ya'll. :D
Overall F: 59/173 (top 34%)
Overall: 138/283 (top 48.8%)
Total time 1:30:19

8/31/13: Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival 5K
31:57. Ave pace 10:18. Tuskahoma, 85F at 8:30am, full sun. (In other words, a heat stroke suck-fest. This is why I slowed down.)
2/18 in F24-29. This is likely to be my only age group placing for a long time, folks. I can't place in city races because I'm a turtle. If the heat isn't too bad, maybe I could win my age group next year. I never got my medal for this race, which makes me sad.

9/28/13: Gravedigger Obstacle Run
1:51:14. I was seriously scared of this race after my experience in the mud factor, but this was amazingly fun. Seriously, it was one of the best races I've ever run, and I will do it again next year. I at least touched all of the obstacles, but I didn't complete 5 of them. I ran this with my bootcamp friends. It rained for the entire race, but the temperature was perfect while we were running. I fared much better after this race-I only had a few bruises, and my left ankle was a little sore. No broken skin, and no sprained ankles this time.
25/42 F25-29
73/135 F
191/299 overall


After: (OMG it was so cold once we stopped running, hence the terrible pic)

This is me on the following Tuesday. I am a fan of periodical locker-room selfies, but I love how I can see the bruises on my underarm from the 2x4s that I hugged at the top of one of the platform obstacles (I'm scared of heights!). Plus, it's sort of nice to look back and have something to compare myself against.

I have had the Spirit of Survival (SoS) Half on my calendar since they announced the date for this year's race. My LRS announced a 5K on the same day, and I immediately dismissed it because I can't be in two places at the same time. Then one of my bootcamp friends kindly pointed out that the half started at 7:30 in Lawton, but the 5K didn't start until 3pm in OKC. Plenty of time to get from point A to point B, with some time to shower and eat in between. So, I present to you the craziest thing I've ever done (to date): 2 races in one day, one of which is over 10 miles long lol.

SoS Half, in Lawton. I had to leave at 5am to get to Lawton by 6:45am. The race started at 7:30am. It wasn't nearly as cold this year, but I still consider 44F to be below my comfort level. As usual, I started out a little too fast. My first 2 miles were both under 9 mins. Funny how last year, my first mile was in the upper 9s, and that was way too fast. Anyway, things were great until my left hip started hurting around 10 miles in, and I started getting a cramp in one part of my abs. The ab pain was enough to stop me and I had fingernail marks in my palm. This feels different from a side stitch; I'm not sure what's going on. Sucking in will help reduce the pain, but I still have to ride it out. In all, I had 3 ab cramps during the run. The hip pain was bad enough that I had to fight to run the last mile. My A goal was 2:15, and my super-secret goal was 1:59. I knew around 8 miles that 1:59 was impossible, but 2:15 was attainable. When I approached the finish line, the announcer said "and now we're at 2:16." I was so angry! I knew that I had probably gotten 2:15 on my chip time. It wasn't until later that I was able to check the results: My gun time was 2:15:57, and my chip time was 2:15:26. But my previous time was 2:36, and I was over there upset about a 20 min PR! But I'm very happy that I met my goal time.

Time: 2:15:26, ave pace 10:20 <----20 min PR!
23/39 F25-29
108/253 F

So I went home and showered, tried to eat something, and then went to work to meet my bootcamp friends so we could carpool.

Runtoberfest 5K
I ran way more of this race than I thought I would be able to. It's amazing how running with very motivated friends can help you push yourself. My hip was ouchy, and the cranky ab attacked me 2x during the run. We had to walk one hill, but other than that I think I ran most of the run. I was fairly calorie-deficient at this point, so most of it is a blur. Actually, most of the day is a blur too. I fell asleep by 7pm lol. I wore the tech shirt from the half during the 5K; I think my favorite part of the entire race was a guy cheering on the sidelines. When I passed him, he saw my shirt and said "hey I ran that this morning!" I said, "I did too!" and kept running right past him. That made me feel a little bit badass. :D

Time: 30:38, ave pace 9:53
80/199 F25-29

This was my last race in the F25-29 age group. My 30th birthday is this coming Monday. I don't have any races scheduled until the Nov 24 marathon. The Putnam City Cancer Classic 5K that benefits my workplace falls on the same day as my 20 miler, and I'm not willing to compromise that long run in any way. I think I'll go cheer on my friends, and then go do my long run. The 5K is at Lake Hefner, but I might go do my long run at Earlywine instead. The wind coming off of the lake can be really cold, so it'll depend on the weather. I'll probably have to pull out my thermals by that point.

I am in an ASL interpreter program at school, and they have an upcoming ASL walk at the OKC zoo on October 19. If anyone local reads this, please consider going! I sort of groaned a little bit because it's a walk (I want to run!), but it's still going to be a good time. I have a scheduled 18 mile long run that evening. Because my 30th birthday is on the 14th, I am going to make that long run a 30K and do 18.64 miles.

44 days until the RT 66 marathon! I have a few kinks to work out,  mainly my IT band and mysterious ab cramps. I am making extra sure that I foam roll regularly; I've sort of slacked on that over the last few weeks, and I hope that that is why my IT band/hip acted up during the half. I don't know what to do about the random ab cramps, beyond knowing that sucking in makes it go away a little bit quicker. I have plenty of time to figure all of that out though. This is my motto for this cycle/semester, because both running and learning ASL are tough. But I am tougher.