Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great Cranberry Island 50K. It was a long race.

After pondering for the past 2 days about a clever way to begin this blog post about my recent 50K adventure I have given up hope. Clever is not going to happen. I am also going to avoid waxing poetic about how damn happy I was (am) about having the opportunity to run this race in its last year (who am I kidding, I am clearly going to do this. I might even give a whole friggin' press release like I did to Mary Ropp on Sunday morning. I get a bit verbose when I am running on no sleep, haha sorry :-))
I might be lacking in clever opening lines but here are a few titles that I considered for your enjoyment:
"The tale of two races in one, one amazing, one less so"
"The time the DJ dropped the bass one too many times and broke it.. or maybe there was a noise curfew?"
"The time we learned that Sara calls people who get frisky in the tent next door "campground sex offenders" (but really, go for it you guys. high five.)
"One time I was racing... to the next porta potti....."
Now to the good stuff.
Eric and I headed to Bar Harbor in the pouring rain on Friday after I wrapped up one of the busiest work weeks I have had this summer. I was feeling good despite having a few aches and pains from being on my feet 9 plus hours a day all week- it's life! We are all busy and that's that.
We had a normal evening of feasting on pasta, me eating cookies in bed and preparing for an early day. I slept quite well and woke up in the exact same head space I was in before Boston. I saw this as a very good sign. I call it my "staring space" because if you were to look at me or try to chat I might look totally spaced out. Here's the deal though, I'm just ALL inside my head in a weird and slightly creepy way. (it is creepy.) We hit the road on time, had a wicked fun ferry ride, accidentally stole one guys tent (whoops!) and got set up in plenty of time.  
Yay for racing friends!!!

As everyone knows I went into this race feeling good about my training cycle, uninjured, and with a flexible but pretty well thought out plan. I was getting a little pissed off at myself though because no matter what I could not figure out if I should treat the race like a slow-death-march or a run-fast-it's-only-5-miles-longer-than-a-marathon-wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Totally undecided. My final brilliant plan was that it was only 5 miles longer than a damn marathon and I should run it like a friggin' boss, leave it all out there, puke, break, murder myself in the face, be badass and NEVER EVER say I should have gone harder.  
Dudes. Goal accomplished. Which might not have been the best plan!!!

At the start! So excited! TOO EXCITED!!!!

As soon as I started running I pulled my head out of my creepy staring place and got SO PUMPED. I WAS OMG SO EXCITED. Ridiculous person that I am, I sped off to conquer the 5K I was running. Whoops. I was excited about everything, I met ALL the friends, I found my name on a phone pole, I saw the scary brown geese for the 1st of many times, I shouted everyone's name and jumped up and down. The miles must have flown by because the first time I looked at my watch it was at mile 8. And my watch read just a touch over 1 hour. OH SHIT. I was having ALL the fun though so this small detail did not concern me (it should have.) There were some hills, just little bitch hills at first later in the race they felt like Mt Everest- I'm sure other runners might agree with this... Other than those pests the course was freaking FUN- so pretty, so sunny, such a nice breeze all around fab.
Eric jumped in to run a couple laps with me at mile 11. I was clearly still in my very happy place at this point and we very happily chugged along at a blazing BQ pace, me yelling at the ducks, my new friends, anyone who would listen and generally being very enthusiastic. 
Mile 15 rolled around with a bit of GI disturbance that I took care of with plans to resume my kickass race domination. My plan worked well until mile 19. At mile 19 things took a turn for the worse, the unexpected, and to a place that I have never traveled to as a runner.
 For better or worse whenever I have hit the wall before I have been able to sneak over it, crawl under it, or kick it in the face until it breaks. At mile 19 of GCI I hit the hugest wall I have ever seen. From mile 19 to 21 I tried to pull it back together, knowing that I had been hydrating and eating properly, knowing that I had put in the damn work and knowing it was a perfect day to run.
At mile 21, with Eric reminding me that 10 miles is no biggie for me I basically lost my cheese off my cracker (there may have been tears.) (10 miles seemed impossible!) I knew there was no way I could make my "A" goal, I knew that my "run however you feel like running" plan wasn't panning out, and I knew that from my dumb belly to my feet I hurt worse that I ever had before while running. TOTAL system failure. I was stopping at every porta potty, I could no longer keep up with my hydration and every time I moved faster than a shuffle I felt like I was going to puke or just die. UGH EFFING UGH! Eric was planning to stop running at mile 21 but he stuck with me thru another lap and having him there was a huge morale boost. We ran thru the marathon split in 4:00 and I knew I could still make my "B" goal, or close to it, even if I had to walk most of the final lap.
 Sometimes in any competition when things aren't going according to plan one has a choice, quit, pout, or make the best of it.  At mile 27 I seriously considered sitting on the side of the road to cry for a bit, I said to Eric "I think I can finish" and not only did he agree but a couple of girls ran by and they were like "DUH, of COURSE you can." At that point I decided that no matter what I would enjoy the final lap. It would, after all be my final lap in the final chapter of this race on GCI and I was determined not to sob and snot my way thru it. So I manned the fuck up. I ran/walked/hobbled my way as fast as I could (not fast) over those last few miles. An untimely additional porta potty trip made me nervous about coming in under 5 hours, and when my legs cramped up when I tried to run faster than a turtle I decided my "F" goal was going to have to be ok. (F goal, Fucking Finish. Yes, we all have those days...)
I ran thru the finish in 5:04. I have no idea how I felt or what happened or anything. I was in a gross amount of discomfort so went and sat down.  
Me. Done. Thank Heavens!

Right away I felt much better!
I was exhausted.
I was very glad to be done and sat in a stupor for a few minutes before taking a fantastic shower (I have never been so salt covered) drinking a bunch of Gatorade, talking to my new running friends and taking a short grass nap.

Then we took a mile walk to look at all the pretty things!

 It took me a couple of days to get around to writing this because I had to mull it over for a bit. It was quite an enormous accomplishment and even though I did not meet my A goal I learned a lot. I know a bit better now what I could improve on if there is another 50K in my future. I also know that even thru a shit ton of problems I can push myself for 31 miles- which is fairly insane from a normal perspective!
I feel like the people made the event. It was really fantastic, well run and a group of awesome cool runners. My kind of people. These are people that I will be happy to see again, snuggle with (although our snuggle-buddy had to leave the party early!) share beer and war stories with and commiserate over all the struggles of running with.

I'm not going to lie. If this race was going to take place again next year I'd be signing up on day ONE ready to tackle it again!  (Gary Allen/Mary Ropp comeonnnnnnnnn! one more year! pleeeease???)

It was an amazing adventure. I keep looking back on the weekend with only positive feelings (which is weird for my type-A self to do when I crash and burn in such a spectacular manner!) I'm so happy I got to experience the race, the island, the people and new friends.....

(see you all at MDI. less than 3 months not that I'm counting!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

This is it!

Race hair is firmly in place. Now I can be found in a crowd!
Legs feel good.
Weather looks ok. It isn't now but tomorrow will be better!
I'm pretty pumped, and after a long busy week am super glad to finally be on my way to stop one, which is Bar Harbor. (with an early ferry ride to GCI tomorrow AM)
Wish me luck at 11:30 tomorrow. I can NOT wait to run the best race ever with about 180 of my new best friends. I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!
Pink hair, orange tank, purple socks, yellow dog.

Monday, July 22, 2013

GCI 50K: 5 days and counting....

5 days to go.

Luckily, with only a few more days to go I don't have much time to worry about it.

I spent a few minutes this weekend really trying to decide how prepared I feel, what my race plan is and if I have settled on a goal finishing time.
I came to the following logical conclusions.

1: I feel fine. My training cycle has been legit. The one thing I wish for was to have completed a run over 20 miles with success... No point in stressing over that detail now- I run marathons happily *ahem* with my longest run at 19 so... fingers crossed!!!
 I have been extremely happy with the vast majority of my runs, my pace, my legs feel good and my crosstraining has been significant. I signed up for this race with the goal to challenge myself and push beyond my comfort zone and I believe I will meet both those goals. I certainly have pushed thru the training and the race is absolutely outside of my comfort zone. **insert vomiting noise HERE!**

2: My race plan is still a work in progress but I have decided upon several things. I'm not going to charge out of the start like a lunatic but I'm not going to hold myself to a 10:00 mile either. That has not been working well in my training runs so why should it in a race? I know I can hold an 8:10 pace for 26 miles. I do not plan on doing so for 31. (according to the internet I should plan to add at least 90 seconds per mile to my current marathon pace. my goal is to keep it closer to 60 seconds.) I plan to hydrate after every lap (at races I hydrate every 4 miles) and to try to eat at mile 5, 10, 15 and 20 (as I would in a marathon if all went well.) I imagine that by mile 20 and beyond I simply will not be able to choke anything down and that's ok. Eric is all ready to run a couple laps with me for moral support and I believe I have coerced (aka blackmailed) Andy into being ready to run a lap if I'm dying a horrible agonistic death.

3: My goal finishing time is, as stated above, something around a 9:10 pace. I hope to finish in the general ballpark of 4:45. In this plan I have chosen to eliminate all rude variables such as 90 degree temps, bad GI situations, deciding to stop and take a break at mile 20, and so forth. I am not sure how things will play out after mile 26 so taking that into consideration my "B" goal is to maintain a 9:30 pace, which still seems perfectly reasonable for such a ridiculously long effort and would be well within the range of times that would make me happy.

The moral of the story is that while I have had a solid, uninjured training cycle and am currently feeling both mentally and physically prepared to conquer this ridiculous volume of running there are things that I simply can not control. I have said before that if you put in the time and consistent effort then there should be few surprises on race day- either negative or positive. Knowing my bod the way I do reminds me that in a high mileage situation, especially in the hot humid summer this isn't always a true statement.
However. I plan to run a solid race. I am certainly going to be fit starting up Fall marathon season, if nothing else!!! I am excited for a new adventure, one which I have heard SO many good things about and feel lucky to be attending in its last year.
In a week I should have some damn good stories to tell too- if you want to hear about tedious miles, bleeding feet, chaffing and gulping Gatorade that is!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My top 5 favorite things about running.

After my less than glowing report about the Old Port Half I decided it was time to write about the things I love, love, LOVE about running. (because when it comes down to it, I might not love certain races- or every run- but those things don't take away from the fact that running and I are good friends.)
I'm a little fickle when it comes to naming my top favorites about running. I like a lot of things about it! (minus the excessive sweating, pain, agony,vomiting, and things of that nature.)
I goes without saying that I enjoy running. I've stuck with it thru thick and thin for several years now, I've pushed thru injuries, figured how to get a little faster, and have managed to make multi hour efforts somewhat entertaining.
So in 2013 what makes the list for my top 5 favorite things?
This has to do with running as a whole, not gear related. That could be a WHOLE other post, jeesh!
Pretty things!
I'm lucky to live in a beautiful place.
I honestly have enjoyed seeing many parts of my town, state and New England from a runners vantage point. Basically, I'm a sucker for a good view.

My amazing running outfits, DUH.
I love my duds. Period. The attire makes it fun!
(get new gear when you meet a running goal. very motivational!)

Fun people!
Not just Eric. Although he is very fun!
I have met some amazing friends thru running and think runners are good people.
Running is also a great way to spend quality time with friends (and healthier than drinking beers....)

Talking people into making many bad excellent choices!!!
Want to run a race tomorrow? Get there at 5:00 AM (ugh!)
Want to run a half marathon with all of us cool kids? You DO!!!?? YAYYY!
I LOVE how many of my friends have drank the cool aid. Whether it's a first time 5-K or Half Marathon it is exciting to see people get pumped about all things running. It makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

The number one thing I love about running?
Tangible results.
You work hard, follow your plan and don't make excuses? You will see results.
No matter if you are a complete beginner or a top dog in the sport this is true. You aren't going to randomly bomb (or, randomly run 10 minutes faster than you expect) if you are training in a reasonable, consistent and challenging way.
There are no shortcuts. But becoming a better runner is something that anyone can do with a bit of effort, determination and dedication. And it is completely worth it because there is no better feeling than snagging a PR, setting a personal distance record or discovering you are strong enough to do things you never thought possible.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Old Port Half Marathon. BLAH to the effing BLAH.

Another Half Marathon, another training day. (getting sick of this trend yet??)
Another day that honestly could not have been much more hot and humid. And anyone who thinks Portland is a flat town needs to look again. OPH organizers, did you hunt down every hill in Portland on purpose? Seriously?
Eric had had an event on Saturday (more on that later!) and I had had a solid week of training which included a legit 10 miles at some kind of Marathon (NOT ultra) tempo. Whoops!! And a ton of bike miles on Saturday. And a whole bunch of other stuff that is hardly worth mentioning, except for the noticeable fact that my legs were dead on Sunday AM. NO juice. DEAD.
I assumed we would take it easy but still be able to squeak out something in the 1:55 range.
The whole gang pre race.
We had no idea what lay ahead.
Well, I did not as I never bother to look at course maps/elevation profiles....

Why do we get up at 4:30 to do this....?

I want to preface this by saying that I do not want to sound like a negative Nancy about this race. (but I am going to, so if you don't want to hear about it feel free to exit.)
All you need to do is look at the results to know it was a long (literally, the course was stupid long) hard, HILLY as SHIT, and HOT, HUMID race for everyone.
The people who ran close to their normal pace were ALL over the sides of the street hooked up to IV's or racked out in the med tent. So yeah, not a great day for many.
The race got off to a funky start for us as we were crammed in the middle of a tight bottleneck of runners for the first mile. That was no big deal, as it was already a hot morning and we didn't want to crank off to a stupid fast start (oh and mile 1 was a 10:37 which is a number I have never seen on my watch during a race before. this was the first of a few things I had never seen in a race before.)
Traffic eased up in mile 2 and we increased our pace to around 8:45 or so.
I was dripping sweat after this mile. Dripping to the point I thought I must be sick, or there must be something actually wrong with me. The sun was blazing though, and the air was lifeless. There was no getting dry and therefore, no way for our bodies to try to cool down (after mile 2. how awesome)
Then the hills came. In the West End of Portland there is a big hill, which includes a narrow path, which obviously caused a major traffic jam. At this point we kinda looked at each other and were like "we can walk faster up this" so we did. (strike 2: I have NEVER walked in a race before!)
The terrain was like this. Flat, flat WALL OF TERROR! flat flat, MOUNT EVEREST.
Fuck. My. Stupid. Running. Career.
We called it a day. Since neither of us had any goal for this race and did not actually want to end up seizing on the road side with a pack of EMT's trying to revive us we trundled. Walked/stopped at every water stop. I stopped to go pee in a porta pottie! (strike THREE! I might pee behind a tree real quick but I never take the time to use an actual bathroom...) Eric turned into a one man sprinkler system as he got progressively more sweaty. I avoided running behind/next to or near him. He frightened people every time we snuck up on them because his shoes were so full of sweat that (loudly) they were going SQUISH SQUICH. He's still good looking even when he is sweaty *sighs dreamily*
The only good part of this race was the amazing cheering team of Sarah and Danielle who freaked out so much every time we passed them that we thought, for a moment, that we must be winning!! "RUN FASTER" they would scream, at an amazing decibel level,  while leaping up and down, cartwheeling and back handspringing along side us as we tried to grunt appreciatively in their general direction.
Seriously. It was like we were leading the Tour De France. That much love!
And we loved it! Thanks you guys!!
We finished in a tragic 2:07. But didn't really care as we were just glad to be done, sto p running and pour ice cold water straight down our throats!
OH... Except there was no water as the environmentally friendly barrel was empty (go ahead OPH, tell me it wasn't. I dare you. Make this dehydrated/overheated runner more pissed!!) I was horrified. Eric went to sit in the shade, possibly pass out and die from the heat and lack of water and I looked for some sort of magic oasis where cold bottles of water and Gatorade might be. No luck. (STRIKE FOUR. I have NEVER seen such a thing at a race before!)
Dear Old Port Half. You have a fun band. You give 2 free beers and pizza to every of age runner.
SCREW ALL THAT. You MUST have more actual hydrating beverages at the end. Coconut water does NOT count. I can't think of anything more ridiculous.
Sure, 500 half marathoners crossed the line before us.
Possibly the same number of 5K runners. And the water barrel was empty. Sure, you guys were probably about to refill it. To a throng of runners 10 deep and growing, on each side of this ill conceived hydration station. UGH!
It was nice to be given a reusable bottle. It was ridiculous to not have it pre filled with water.
I'm going to stop talking about this now as I have made my point. Rant over.

How we felt about the lack of beverages at the finish.

We more or less foraged around for what we could find, ingesting multiple iced tea samples (sorry iced tea people! desperate times!) Trying to chug coconut water (after the water ran out there was a run on the coconut water supply- the guy nicely gave me a couple warm containers but it's hard to get hot coconut water down the hatch..) We ate some fro-yo pops (those are delicious).
After this lovely meal and after some time lying on the ground in the shade we were both more or less back up to snuff. It was a day much more conducive to lounging in the shade, beer in hand than doing fantastic feats of athleticism which made from 10:00 or so on much more pleasant. As previously mentioned, there was a good band, an endless supply of beer, and pizza.
So all in all... I might not leap at the chance to do this race again. I could be talked into it for the social aspect if I were promised a 20 ounce bottle of Poland Spring at the end. It might be a situation similar to Bands on The Run in 2012- there were some issues that year that they did a great job correcting for this year. I know many people had the same complaints as I have expressed so possibly with a few tweaks this could be a better event.
(and if nothing else it was more or less exactly what I was supposed to do training wise, with less than 2 weeks until GCI!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The top 5 Google searches that brought you to Middleaged Runner

The top 5 Google searches that brought people to my blog thus far, during the month of July.
Brilliant I tell you, Brilliant!!
I must vow to check up on this more often as I find it quite amusing.

"That Damn Butt"

All I can say about this is... "what what??" (but really, WHAT?)

"At mile 20 I wished to puke, at mile 22 I wished to DIE."

Well this is true! UGH!!!

"Peanut butter runner woman"

I am a woman and yet, not made of peanut butter...

"Hairy Armpit"

Obviously not around these parts. Not my thing...

"Are we done, NO are we done?"

HAHA!!! That one is funny. And a good caption for that picture as well.

Maybe I need to make this a monthly topic as I have not been this amused in quite some time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ultra Training thus far: OR: What am I THINKING??!

I am pleased to say that for the most part my Ultra training is going quite well. On a side note, i believe that from now until race day I am going to refrain from calling this race an ultra and simply call it a 50K. To me, 50K sounds worse. To most (or so it seems) an ultra needs to be at least 50 miles. I'm doing an ultra-lite, haha! That's enough for me thank you!

Indeed, race training is marching along. Less than 3 weeks to go and I am still sound, sane (for the most part) and thinking that this cycle of ultra training could happily continue into fall marathon season.

Well. I was thinking that until this Sunday's long run of death and horror.
It had to happen. All my long runs have been in 62 degree weather- I kid you NOT! I had a feeling that on the first day that my multi hour run fell on an 85 plus degree day that I was going to eat shit.

I knew it was going to be hot so I pre planned, ate right, got hydrated, set up aid stations and pledged to never even INCH above a 9:30 pace.

The best laid plans.... 

Getting ready. Thank you Eric for this *amazing pic*

How I felt about this particular photo montage. Heehee.

I was a little sad to discover that I did not have ANY of my favorite outfits clean and ready to go..
Oh well... I knew I'd just sweat on and destroy this one anyway!

Being a glamourous weirdo, per the norm... *sigh*

And then... I WAS OFF!!!!!
If this run had finished at 2 hours I would have proclaimed that it was perfect! I ate and hydrated properly (until I ran in to start lap 2.) My legs felt great, my mindset was perfect and I was convinced that I was going to dominate this long run like a boss! Of course, I also noticed that the air was HOT, like hot to even breathe- and there was not a breath of wind. I was sweating so much that I pulled off my tank at mile 13 (my rest stop/lap 2 point) and mopped my face and disgustingly wiped my nose on it. Eww. The good news was that lap one had really gone according to plan: good hydration, good nutrition, good slow as molasses pace.

                                        Running into mile 13 and my turn around for lap 1.
                                             I was shooting for about 23-24 miles. UGH.

This is the point when I think I made a critical error. I had been consistently sipping water and gatorade, and having my normal running snacks. I was feeling like the fricking Sahara desert at this point to I made a terrible choice, chugged about 20 ounces of gatorade and chased it with a hefty dose of water. At this point, I also decided to carry along a water bottle even though doing so drives me crazy, and I had another aid station a few miles away (the choice to carry the h2o is an important detail for later.)

One mile into lap 2 terrible things began to happen. WHO knows why!!! My stomach became disgustingly sloshy with the 20 ounces plus of ill advised hydration slopping around. Very shortly thereafter I began to experience some most unpleasant hiccups which varied between being heinously painful and charmingly vomity. So awful. By the time I was 5 miles away from home I was fairly certain my day was done but tried (and tried, and tried) to shake it off and talk myself thru the tough moments. That is what long distance sports are all about after all.

I carried on in this truly horrible condition for quite some time. I was really ready to man the fuck up and get this run done! I tried to eat (failed) tried to drink more (drank maybe 10 more ounces of my water bottle- again, important detail...)

I think I was due for a horrid long run. THIS WAS IT. It could NOT have been worse.

I stopped counting miles and counted steps. I was rather annoyed because until mile 15 or so I had really been enjoying myself and feeling strong! The weather continues to be hot, humid, airless and stale. I wished I had my phone because by mile 18 I was struggling every step- and for someone who ran 20 2 weeks ago like it was NBD this isn't a great feeling.

At mile 20 I looked up, groggily, to see a large light colored dog running at me, barking ferociously. Over the din I could hear his owner's panicked cries and when I looked at the dog bearing down on my I knew why. I was about to get fucking killed... I had no idea what to do and I knew I didn't stand a chance if he really meant business. Without even thinking (and literally- as I felt his breath ON ME) I squirted my water bottle in his eyes. I was just enough to startle him and he swerved slightly. As he rounded back on me I bashed him in the face with said-super-hero-water-bottle and squirted him again. Bottom line, I can't play the quick thinking tough guy here. If this dog had REALLY wanted to bite me he would have. I was lucky. And scared shitless. And I will ALWAYS carry mace from now on, and I'm not scared to use it!

The owner was quite upset. As she should have been. The dog had been tied but broke his run when he saw me. she openly admitted that he was a dog who is dangerous and unfriendly to passers by but still "a good dog." I'm a dog lover but I'm not quite sure that being that unfriendly is a good trait.

I borrowed her phone and called for rescue. I had had enough of the whole experience!

Done. UGH.

I was pretty destroyed for a couple hours. Lots of complaining about how disgusting I felt.
 If I learned anything from last years summer marathon training (which is debatable since I swore never to do it again- yet here I am...) it was that one horrible long run doesn't affect the outcome of the race. I did wake me up to the need to re-think (AGAIN. again, UGH AGAIN) my hydration on hot days. If it's 60 degrees and raining I have this shiz down to a science but I'm not well practiced this year for the hot temps. With only a couple weeks to go it might not happen.  Since the weather is out of my hands I'm not going to stress, because what can I do? I'm just going to wrap up my final weeks of training and I'll see all of you crazies at the start line. I have no idea what is going to happen on race day (but who does?) Honestly, if it is that hot I might be chugging along in survival mode. Or turn into a spectator at mile 8, HAH!
2.5 weeks to go.... We shall see what happens.

(A quick housekeeping note as well. you can find me on Bloglovin, along with the rest of the blogger world apparently!)

Monday, July 8, 2013

The top 7 people who I will NOT allow to beat me in a race!

Since I have used a couple of races as training runs this year I have had some thinking time. I find that a non race pace allows me to think deep, profound thoughts rather then concentrate on my suffering. Apparently, when I have extra time to ponder I do not solve the worlds problems (so much for deep and profound) Rather, I count people as I pass them (rude) or I mull over who I will not accept being beaten by (this is rude too, but fun.)
Since I don't want to end up on GOMI (or do I..?? Hahah no I don't!) I think I'll say this: Y'all know I make more fun of myself than anyone so if this offends you calm down. If you happen to BE one of these people feel free to offer a rebuttal to justify your terrible choices. :-)

OK. Without further ado I offer up for your viewing and reading pleasure:
The top 7 people who I will NOT allow to beat me in a race!!!

WHAT???? I won't let Kara Goucher beat me!!??? 
Well, of course she can/would beat me!  She would kick my ass.
However! Do you see her teeny running knickers? If you wear those to the local Half Marathon and you are NOT Kara Goucher (or another amazing elite athlete) I will not let you beat me. Really ladies, don't do it. If you honestly expect to win the race then I'll cut you slack but if you are a: not going to and b: are not Kara Goucher steer clear. Just say no. This goes for men too. I don't think that would be good at ALL.
One of my twitter friends had a brilliant tweet yesterday saying if she ever became an elite that she would wear her race knickers every day, even to Wal-Mart. I second this statement. (but, being elite is key here!)

If you are running in a costume at a non-costume race you many not pass me.
Yikes. I'm not a fan.
Clearly I am a jerk who hates on all things fun.

This guy (well not actually this guy.)
THIS is the guy who runs the first mile at a 6:00 pace even though all his training runs have been at a 10:00 pace. The race was just too damn exciting and he sped off like a boss!!! Only to DIE at mile 1.1 and look like this when I pass him. Sorry dude!
I am against letting this guy beat me although I applaud his one mile of speed work.

The people at the start who say "I'm using this as a lead up to my mud run"
Or my color run. Or bubble run. Or glitter/confetti/make me barf run. Or obstacle race.
That's awesome guys but you may not beat me.

The dudes (or ladies) running a 5K in a Camlebak.
What? You need to hydrate so badly in a 5K that you tote your backpack along?
I can't accept this. Therefore, I will beat you. And then beat your backpack.

The Damn moose!!!
Except he is fast. And even in that costume has managed to beat me before!
NEVER again you MOOSE!!!!!
(I won't let him beat me in anything longer than a 5K though, so we are even...)

The NUMBER ONE person who will NEVER be allowed to beat me!!!
A man with a tramp stamp.
(although if it was Ted we'd just chat and I'd ask about the mother of his children, duh.)
(but it is impossible to find pics of tramp stamped men. it is a rare find. thank gahd)
But REALLY! At bands on the run there was a dude with a legit tramp stamp. After I stopped laughing I was like, ohhhhh no and I motored by him. I feel that I need a man with a questionably placed tattoo to chime in here because for the life of me I can't figure this one out.

Well that's it for today. Stay tuned this week for more top 10 (ish) lists,  updates on ultra training and pictures of me suffering horribly in the HOT humid weather!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bridgton 4 on the 4th... Another HOT HUMID HILLY DAY!

Yesterday was my triumphant return to short-distance-balls-to-the-walls racing after what....? 9 months of swearing off anything shorter than 10 miles? Yikes!
As I might have mentioned once or twice I am currently training for distance NOT speed AT ALL. I actually sat down pre race and tried to figure out what was a reasonable expectation of a finishing time (as much as I was talking smack about defending my top 5 finish from last year I knew this would NOT be the case!) I looked at my recent track performances (slow), considered my fitness (high) reviewed the weather (HOT, after a week of COLD) and my level of desire to woman up and win it all (high per the norm but totally unjustified!) These factors made me think that if I woke up with a legit need for speed I could probably manage a 7:40 pace. The 4 on the 4th is up a ridiculous mountain, after all...
(and yes. seeing that I was going to be running 4 minutes slower than last year made me puke a little in my mouth. but this was never scheduled to be my A race, duh...)
Me in my Mizunos. Kate looking fancy! Angie's first post baby race!!
We got there and it was 80 degrees an hour before the race started and 87% humidity. I said goodbye to everyone, got in the car, turned on the AC and went home. Screw racing! It was 62 and cloudy the last time I had a serious run (the day before...)
UGH. I kid! I kid!
I ran a few warm up miles and basically had to change all my clothing because I was soaked thru. Not, perhaps, the best omen...
I knew going out with the speedsters would be dumb. Especially since at this race EVERYONE seems to think that running the first mile at a sub 7 pace is brilliant, then you see the dead/puking/prone bodies at mile 1.2 and know this was not a good idea. So I went out easy. Mile one was completed in 7:15 which is a full minute plus than the blazing first mile I ran last year but as I climbed Mt Everest going towards the 2 mile point I knew my slow start was wise. Per the norm, people were out of gas.

With the exception of the agonistic pain and suffering that is the norm with a short race this was fairly uneventful for me. I maintained a very steady pace. My legs never got tired although I considered the possibility of a major cardiac event as the hill and my epic and unusual *ahem* speed kicked my trash. I knew it wasn't a PR/Top 10/AG win day but I was still determined to finish in a respectable time. Anything sub 30 was going to make me very happy! I sweated a truly amazing amount but did not puke, crap my pants or quit running on the roadside. As far as my "good day goal" of a sub 30:00 I knew it was going to be very close!
I JUST pulled it off. 29:28. I'll take it.

It was HOT as SHIT.

I snagged 4th in my AG and 19th overall woman.
A totally decent effort and quite acceptable considering my current sprinting fitness!
Which is NADA. Nothing. No 5K PR in my future this year (thank heavens, hahah!)

Somehow we missed Eric's finish.
But saw Kate make a big push to the end! She was easy to spot in those bright shoes.

Me: "EWWWW when we touch our sweat mingles and we slither!"

So Eric was 100% disgusted with his *lamentable* finishing time. He might have quit racing... Ridiculous person! I never quit racing after a tough/hilly/humid/sunny/gross race, pshhhhh!
Kate was happy to be done. They were both really sweaty and gross and since I was cool, dry and smelling of flowers and freshly showered armpits I found them quite offensive! GAHD!
We found Angie who had kicked her first post baby race in the teeth! Sue (who we dragged out, kicking and screaming) had a good race too, especially since non-training is kind of her jam lately. I think that is the way to go, summer running is gross! (but she's joining the Smuttynose marathon/half marathon gang this fall so this was step one in an amazing training cycle for her! yayyyyy!)  
We ate watermelon. Drank ALL the Gatorade. Talked about what a terrible, terrible idea racing is. Signed up for next year. (normal stuff.)
Then we went our separate ways to celebrate AMERICA. F**K YEAH!

The whole gang!
Good job kids!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Recap

Before I wax poetic about June 2013 I want to reflect for a moment about where I was a year ago.  
So yeah, I had a 202 mile month in June of 2012. I also ran every single one of those 202 miles on such a badly injured leg that I could not walk normally, go down stairs, or (honestly) remember what pain free running felt like. I was about to start the count down to my first marathon and was scared to death that one missed workout would spell certain doom. I still am not sure how the hell I got it done, but I did (and then had to essentially the the entire month of August off. Yeah that was awesome!)

Two major changes in the last year.
-I have a fantastic coach who has kept me fantastically healthy. Clearly I could not do that myself. I don't want to say it out loud but I have not had ANY problems since I began to follow her plan and that is not my norm (my norm is awesome, but chronically injured awesome which basically equals terrible...) 
-A year ago I was very new to long runs. I was under the assumption that they should feel good (and thus, was quite shattered when many were rather awful.) Bottom line: long runs should NOT hurt because you are suffering from a grievous injury. But shit- they DO hurt. Physically, mentally you name it. They can suck hairy ball sacks. Getting a good long run in is awesome but often concerns me because I fear that I have blown my load too early. I'd rather suffer in training and save the good stuff for race day! 

Moving on... 

Number of races run: 2

Number of PR's- HAH. haha. HAH! ZERO homies, ZERO. I did set a 2013 Half PR in (for me) a rather abysmal 1:49 and change. It was a training run, that's my excuse and I'm gonna stick to it!
(and yes, this has me itching to actually "run" a half as I consider this to be one of my better distances. However, it isn't in the cards for this year...)

Number of times I puked on my shoes: Z-E-R-O

Running miles- 155

Cycling miles: 177 plus an hour on the god-damn-useless-torture-trainer


Times running gave me an adult tantrum: 1 (more on this later...)

Longest run: 20 miles

Number of failed track workouts due to Reginald Doodie: ONE. He is such a shit. Haha get it? 

Number of times I quit running/being an athlete/all the things: 1 (and once again, it didn't take,. I quit then promptly ran 17 like an effing boss.)

Number of times I wore a sundress and compression socks to family dinner: 1
But if I could get away with it this would be my go to outfit.
I'm so hot. It's ok to be jealous.

Take away message for June of 2013: While I might not have the running mileage of 2012 I have more actual hours of working out in the bank. I feel good. The plan we are following for this ultra might be a little left of center but have you met me? So am I. I have complete confidence that the work I'm doing is going to get me to the finish of my longest race to date. 

Other fun facts? I'm focusing my efforts this year on distance vs speed. Last year I did both (train for a marathon! PR in a 5K every week! F**K my legs royally! Cry for my Mom!) I have the 4 on the 4th in the schedule next week and I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am not going to be able to run as fast as last year. One side of my brain is like "dude, that sucks!" But the logical side of my brain says "you have been training for a freaking 50K. Don't be a hero. Run 8:30's and be cool with it... drink a beer!"So with a pretty huge training week in store we will see what my sprint to non-victory brings. But dudes really? I'm just excited to have a day off in the middle of the week.