Memorial Day Photos

Spent Memorial day just trying to have fun. Went down to the valley and ran with the fast peeps on the trails for 2 hours, then went disc golfing with my hubby, and spent the evening playing card games.

I was a bit stiff from the Blossom Run on Sunday so I was a bit shocked when the group started to pick up the pace right away Monday morning. I didn't feel bad but was a bit worried since usually this group starts slow and then drops you when they hit the trails. If the pace felt quick on the towpath I wasn't too confident about my abilities to keep up on the trails.

Thankfully they eased the pace a little just in time for a small thunderstorm to soak us before diving into the woods. Pace was quick and the hills were rough. I am definitely not accustomed to hustling up the hills yet. CG just bounded up them like they were nothing. My legs were definitely giving me the bird as I had pretty much tapped them on Sunday. My quads were burning on several climbs. But I wasn't the slowest one and I did manage to keep up without too much trouble. The trails were a big mudfest so I was pretty impressed to have averaged around 10 minute miles by the end of my 2 hour run. The group kept on to get in 20 miles but I decided to be smart and not push it. My right hamstring was a little overworked and I figured a hard 2 hour trail run was probably not bright already so I didn't want to push it any more. It felt so good to get back out on the trails again. I just hope I can be this aggressive on the hills and mud come Buckeye 50k!

Wet and muddy trail rat

These shoes need a spray

Some places the mud was ankle deep. Not sure how it got all the way up my calf though! Only forded a few streams.

Ate lunch and blogged then we headed to the local disc golf course. My right hamstring was a bit unhappy so I just took it easy and didn't try very hard to throw the disc very far, but still a nice hour in the sun with my hubby.

Hubby at hole number 5

I just love these trees, I think the flowers look like stars

Have you seen my disc?

Obviously not concerned that I was about 100 over par at this point

More fun star flowers

So how did you spend your Memorial Day?

2008 Blossom Run Race Report

My original spring plan was to race Boston and 5 weeks later race Traverse City marathon. Unfortunately I didn't check the calendar very closely when I signed up for Bayshore, and a week or two before Boston had the realization that Bayshore was Memorial Day weekend which is also Blossom weekend for Chagrin Falls, aka big deal to the in laws who live there. AKA better not race around 13 hours away that Saturday and risk missing Blossom Sunday if I wanted to stay out of the dog house. So since Boston went relatively close to my goal I decided to pass on Bayshore and save my sub 3:20 effort for another day (more on that in another post).

All of this ended with me not training very hard the past few weeks and just trying to recover from Boston and get in a few of the fun local races. The Blossom run is 5.25 hilly miles around Chagrin Falls. I have done the race twice and managed to place in my age group both times. The race draws a huge crowd and quite a few local studs for both the men's and women's races. I checked out times from the past two years and got it in my head that perhaps I could place top 5 this year and win some money rather than the regular age group trophy. Because of the hills I figured my pace would be similar to what I ran at the Martian 10k two weeks before Boston. So I had hopes of holding about 6:30 pace and coming in top 5 going into the race.

The week got a bit out of hand with 3 unplanned days off in a row M,T,W, so as I warmed up with Solar and TKins and my legs were still feeling groggy I wasn't sure what kind of day I was going to have. Did a few strides before lining up about 3 back from the start with some of my SERC guys. Blossom is a no chip race with about 1000 runners so as you can imagine aiming for top 5 I didn't want to waste any seconds lining up too far back. Still had to dodge a few eager youngsters who were lined up at the front as the gun went off (as the anthem was finishing, talk about no real warning!). I just tried to run based on perceived effort, it had worked at the Martian 10k and I didn't want to run too fast at the start like I did at Mom's day 5k. It was hard to tell how many women were ahead of me as it was really crowded but I saw two and figured there were probably one or 2 more that I couldn't see.

I kept behind JT, knowing that he and Frank were in better shape than me I knew I shouldn't go out with them like I did at the 5k a few weeks ago. Commented to Hawthorne that I better beat the chick with headphones or I would be pissed. He assured me I'd take her down by mile 2 and thankfully I didn't have to wait that long passing her well before the mile marker.

Last time Frank would be behind me on Sunday!

Blossom starts uphill then you go down a steep hill by the roller rink and head back up again. Frank pulled ahead of me at the bottom of the hill as I waved to my hubby taking pictures and I just tried to keep my effort even. First mile was right about where I wanted to be at 6:34 and I had hopes of holding that pace the rest of the race. I wasn't comfortable and I couldn't see any girls in front of me but knew I had to hold pace if I wanted to stay in contention for top 5. Unfortunately the spectators weren't really helpful in that I didn't get any snippets of what place I was in through the course. I knew I must look bad because I felt bad and so I wasn't quite as cheerful of a runner as usual. The crowds definitely respond better to happy runners than run down ones!

My second mile was 6:40 and I was a little upset that I was slowing but I thought that I remembered my 2nd and 3rd miles being slow here last year and being able to pick it back up again the final miles so I held onto that to keep me going. I could see Frank up ahead, slowly getting further and further from me but I could not see a single female runner. Not giving me much hope for passing anyone I held onto my effort as best as I could knowing that I was likely some females bait and didn't want anyone to take advantage of me faltering.

As the effort gets harder in races or track workouts I tend to dissociate. I start to look down at the ground in front of me and just push, often letting my thoughts take over. I tried really hard to focus on the path ahead of me but was having a hard time staying "in" the race. Thankfully for me this dissociation at fast paces doesn't seem to slow me down too much, but I am sure if I could just find the energy to hold my head high and focus on the horizon rather than the ground it would result in better performances.

Mile 3 (6:47) was slower than mile 2 and I was starting to get a bit hard on myself. Trying to convince myself that 2.25 miles was not that far and this pace was not that hard. But every fiber in my being was telling me that I was full of s^&t and that this was incredibly hard and 2.25 miles was still a helluva a long way to keep this pace up. Grabbed a water and pushed on as best I could. I was still holding out for the last two miles to be faster and was grateful that at least this year it wasn't hot like last year.

Mile 4 I got back to 6:40 but for some reason I wasn't happy with that. I don't know why during a race a totally reasonable split can feel like a lackluster performance. I guess I just had really high expectations of myself and couldn't see at the time that I wasn't really that far off of them. During that moment it felt like I was just falling short. I tried to take advantage of the few small downhills here before heading up the hill past the cemetery and towards the finish.

Then to add to my self doubt around 4.25 I got caught by a fellow SERC gal CG. Thankfully she had supportive words for me and I managed to get out of my dark cloud and suck it up to stick with her. I still wasn't sure what place we were in but I knew if I let her pass me or anyone else catch me I was likely risking the top 5 goal. So I tucked my head and upped the effort as best as I could. The whole time just thinking about how hard this felt and how insane I must be.

I am a thinker. I've constantly got something racing through my head. I guess that's one of the reasons I like Ultras, it gives me time to just go out and think about anything all day. Well at this point during this race my competitive thinker was going full speed. I was thinking how I had to out kick CG because she is a masters runner and if I let her pass me I might be risking top 5 but if I beat her, she would still get top Masters. As competitive as I am I still don't want to see a friend do poorly and I certainly don't want to be the chick that cost them an award or placement they were looking for.

As we upped the hill near the cemetery I felt that it was a lost cause as I was pushing as hard as I could but CG looked so much stronger than me. I thanked her for pulling me and she urged me to stay with her. I fell back a little but as we crested the hill I pulled back even with her. I knew my husband would be on the right near the finish but that the women had to go through the chute on the left. I moved to the middle of the street so that I wouldn't have to race from one side of the street to the other and pounded my way through mile 5 in 6:38.

I saw my husband and heard him yell that I needed to finish strong and I could hear Elizabeth screaming that I was in fourth and I needed to push hard. With a quarter mile to go I tried my best to hammer in. CG had fallen back a few strides but I have never seen her finish so I wasn't sure if she was a late kicker and as the crowds were all yelling "go girls" and not "go girl" I knew I did not have any room for error if I wanted to hold my place. I had absolutely no kick left in me and if she had sprinted past me I would have been done. I pumped my arms furiously as that was about the only part of my body that I felt had any strength left in it. I somehow managed to finish the last quarter mile under 6 minute pace in 1:25.

I crossed the finish line and was just grateful that I managed to hold on. CG hugged me at the line and we both congratulated each other. We both had great days and we thought we placed 4th and 5th, but the headphones girl finished after us and informed us she was 7th so we were actually 5th and 6th girls. Man was I glad I sucked it up and hammered it in! I know I would have been upset with myself working that hard and missing my goal by one place.

I had asked Salty on Thursday what she would do if she was me having missed M-W running and needing to get in a long trail run as well as wanting to race well on Sunday and she gave me a mini plan of attack. I thought I had understood the whole thing and in that plan I was supposed to do an hour cool down and then 3-4 easy last night to loosen up for my 2 hour trail run today. Last night after the 3 miles easy I realized that I was actually just supposed to get in 10 miles in the morning, not close to 14. Ooops! But at the time I thought I was doing what I was supposed to so after congratulatory hugs and kisses for the hubby I headed out with Hawthorne to run the course backwards super easy. Got lots of funny looks and lots of "you're going the wrong way" comments. But we sloughed our way through 5 miles and I added another 10 minutes with Daisy and Salty to get to an hour.

Rewarded myself with some vinegar fries and headed over to the awards still sweaty and salty and covered in dead bugs that clung to my sweaty sun screened skin. Gross! Got there just in time to get my 5th place award and cheer on all my SERC buddies who placed in their age groups. Not sure what it looked like my priorities were as I was one of the only ones still in their race outfits and I was carrying around a Pepsi and vinegar fries :) At first they accidentally gave me the 1st place prize so I was shocked to receive a $50 gift certificate. But they got it sorted out and I actually received a $25 gift card, which was still super awesome! Also realized that once again I got beat by a gal that in the past few years has placed one above me in age group at this race. All I know is she must have had a fantastic race because I never saw her. The first gal ran a 32 something. I just can't fathom running that fast on that course. I can't even run a flat 5k at that pace yet!

Mmm Pepsi! Note the lucky bib number 277. I am a firm believer that I will do well if there are multiple 7s in my bib number. Yeah it's my only running superstition :)

I must say while I have no need for plaques I did feel pretty silly walking around with a gift card instead on an official looking award. Note those were actually the first place winners goods I had at this point.

Happy Hansens.

So I guess as I keep getting faster my expectations will not always be met so easily. Races are starting to hurt a bit more and as I keep setting more aggressive goals I am coming up short a bit more than I am used to. But the awesome thing is that I am so far ahead of where I have ever been and I am just glad that I am in a position to make such aggressive goals for myself. I need to remember that at the end of the day I am not training to be a 5k or 5.25 mile runner, I am training to do well in the marathon and at ultras and that any gained speed I get in the short distances on the way to my loftier goals are really just bonus. Given the toughness of this course I think I really did a great job this weekend and I am proud of how hard I worked out there.

Super impressed by all my friends and SERC pals. Solar just keeps getting faster and faster! Glad that Salty and Daisy were able to come out and get in a good run. Congrats to everyone that raced this weekend! Official results will probably be up in a few days but here are my watch splits.

Mile 1- 6:34
Mile 2- 6:40
Mile 3- 6:47
Mile 4- 6:40
Mile 5- 6:38
Last .25- 1:25

Weekly Rundown (May 12th-May 18th and May 19th through May 25th)

Playing a quick catch up here on training. I have been running, albeit not as much as I would like. Took a big hit this week with the first time since the week after Boston that I had more than one day off in a row. Sometimes life just throws you a curve ball I guess.

May 12th-18th

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5.25 miles easy

Wednesday: 7 miles easy

Thursday: Solo Track workout 8 miles total
Warm up 3.25 miles then 3*1600 at 5k race effort with 400 recovery jogs. Windy day and I was beat and it showed in my pacing
mile cool down

Friday:Rest (Bad day, rough day at work and rough start in the morning just never found time to get a run in)

Saturday: 2 miles easy with my girls downtown with some strides. Meant to get in a PM run but it just didn't happen.

Sunday: Pacing Daisy ~16 miles

May 19th-May 25th

Monday: Rest (travel)

Tuesday: 20 minutes strength training (travel) (Late night drinks and dessert with Mouse, Dice, and the Jayhawks totally worth the rough wake up call and plane ride Wednesday. These peeps rock.)

Wednesday: Rest (travel)

Thursday: 7 miles easy with Daisy

Friday: 30 minute warm up easy with Salty then 6* 1 minute at 5 mile race pace effort with 2 minute jogged recoveries then a 12 minute cool down ~7 miles

Saturday: 60 minutes easy on the trails with Salty ~6.5 miles

AM: 22 minute warm up ~2.5 miles
Blossom Run 5.25 miles- 34:44 watch time (6:37 pace)
hour cool down ~6 miles
AM Total ~13.75 miles

PM 3 miles easy to shake out the legs for tomorrows trail run
Day total ~16.75

Closing the book on weeks under 40 mpw now and heading on to higher average mileage and the Buckeye 50K!

Pacing Miss Daisy

So I have obviously been busy but here is my very belated quick pace report from the Cleveland Marathon.

Daisy is the one with the wild arm warmers center left.

I have started a trend the past few years of pacing my girls through their first marathon or ultra and I owed Daisy as I had kind of bailed on our initial plan to take Boston easy and race Cleveland so the plan was to go out and cheer on the marathoners and half marathoners around mile 2.5 on the hill coming up from Browns Stadium so that I could see all my friends and my cousin who was running her first half marathon. Then we would head out to mile 13 to pick up Daisy and escort her to a 3:30 finish. Solar (can I just reiterate how excited I am that my girl finally has a blog?) decided to join me so we had the loudest cheering spot on the course and the best looking pacers out there too ;)

Got to the race a bit early and headed down to our cheering spot. Thankfully there was a bridge we could stand under to hide from the rain. As more and more time went by we were starting to worry that perhaps the course did not actually come through here but we spotted a few wheel chair racers and eventually saw the runners making their way around the turn and up the hill to greet us :) We were able to stand on the ground as the fast guys came through but the course got crowded quickly and we made our way on top of the barrier to cheer. Probably not the smartest move but it sure was fun :) Had a few scares when cheering a little too emphatically and started to get lightheaded (not ideal when the ground is a good ten feet below ya!). It was hilarious when runners would go to high five us and do it real gently so as not to knock us down! I got my first spectator hug early on from a runner who saw my Boston shirt and hugged me and informed me he ran Boston too. Also got a little card from a man dressed as a Crab King who apparently belongs to the couch potato running club. You gotta love spectating!

Solar with the sign Daisy made for me to cheer on our SERC runners.

Between our two loud mouths and the bridge echoing we were making quite a racket. Took a ton of photos in hopes of catching those we knew on camera, which you are more than welcome to peruse on Flickr. (E-Speeds Cleveland Photos) Somehow missed my cousin and many others in the mass of people. There were actually still a few final marathoners coming through as the elite 10k runners came blazing by the 4 mile mark. We decided to wait for Lou and JoAnn to go through before ducking out and heading to mile 13.

We stripped our outer layers in my office bathroom and ran about 2 miles to the halfway mark, just trying to get into 8 minute groove and be ready for Daisy. Got there a few minutes early and eagerly awaited Daisy's arrival. The 3:30 group passed and no Daisy. I started to worry that maybe she was ahead of pace and we missed her. As the 3:40 group passed I started to get really nervous. We decided to run back to the aid station at 13 and see if Tri Eric had seen her. As we were making our way back she appeared. I told her the 3:40 group wasn't too far ahead and it would take some work but we would work to catch and pass them and get her the PR she was going for.

Unfortunately a few minutes after that Daisy's heart rate sky rocketed and she started to have some real trouble breathing. It seriously looked like an asthma attack. I offered to call her hubby but tough chick she is she waved that idea away as we walked it off. The rest of the day passed much in this same fashion, try to up the pace then walk it off when the heart rate got too out of control. Not exactly how any of us thought the day would go, but that is the trouble with marathons. When it is not your day, it is a Loooong day.

Making it look fun even though all we wanted was for the next 5 miles to disappear!

Cheering on Daisy to the finish, trying to get the crowds to cheer a little louder!

We eventually did get to that finish line all a bit stiff and hungry. Solar and I had to high tail it back to my house so I could finish up the florida salad for the party and get the grilled foods on their way. Solar took this task seriously as we cruised through the streets of Cleveland at around 6:30 pace. Let me tell you running that fast after averaging 12 minute miles for the last 13 miles was not a nice wake up call for me. All in all got in around 16-17 miles for the day which is good time on my feet training for teh Buckeye 50k. The SERC after party went great and I was glad to see Daisy feeling fine and kicking back with a few drinks. Many of the SERC crowd got PRs which is amazing considering the shit conditions that morning. As always so proud of all my SERC peeps!

After that it was straight into the field for me for two days hence the lack of posting. I'm still trying to get caught up at work and playing catch up with some running I missed from working in the field this week hence the lack of posting. I'll get up a weekly wrap up soon and some thoughts that are going through my brain on post marathon blues. Also should be getting up a race report as Blossom is tomorrow!

Hope everyone is enjoying this great weather! Why couldn't the marathon have been tomorrow? I am sadly getting some work work done today but will thoroughly enjoy my Monday off by getting down to the Buckeye Trail!

Hows that for the most random pace report ever?

Everything Besides Running

So with all this downtime after Boston I actually have been trying to keep myself busy. Here's a short list as well as some slide shows of what has been going on since Boston.

The weekend I got back Solar and I were signed up to make rain barrels! Basically rain barrels capture runoff from your roof which you can then use to water your garden and lawn instead of using tap water. Better for your plants, better for your pocket book, and better for the environment. I just need to get a better overflow system hooked up to mine and paint it with some flowers and stuff and it will be set to collect rain water for my garden. Too bad it will probably stop raining as soon as I hook it up!

On an another environmentally friendly note I started taking the bus to work. So far it has worked out great. Only had to run to catch it once and haven't had to stand for more than a few minutes once on. Although it does look like this is becoming a very popular alternative to driving! Think the gas prices may have something to do with it? ;) I did the math and it works out to save me a little money but mostly it just saves me the hassle of driving. As a bonus I get to read on my way to work, I have already zoomed through the Phillip Pullman trilogy and need to get my butt to the library and pick out something else (any suggestions?) for now I am catching up on my running times and runners world magazines. Once the weather breaks I will alternate between cycling and taking the bus in.

On another driving note the man who I rear ended oh about 3 years ago finally settled the lawsuit against me. WooHoo! No bankruptcy or court for me. What a load off. I swear about 50 trees were killed in the process of that whole lawsuit, I have never seen so much paperwork in my life!

I got a new (pink!) camera just before Boston so I have been trying to use it as much as possible :) It's small so I expect some photos on the trails will happen soon. For now I have just in general been driving my hubby nuts with it and taking tons of photos and video at our cousins birthday parties. The kids parties are always a nice way to catch up with the family. Oh and a nice excuse to sugarfy myself with cake and ice cream.

Although it didn't involve me running I did go to the Captains 5K and volunteer. I got to do race day registration and be the 2 mile timer. Fun times in the rain. As a bonus we got two free tickets to a captains game!

I have been working on getting the house de-cluttered so that our distressed feline will stop peeing on everything in site. This involved going through a lot of paper and shredding as well as some home repairs. I even scoured the bathroom (and almost lost my dinner, drains are freaking disgusting!).

For Cinco De Mayo we actually went out for drinks with the coworkers. As a bonus we scored free tacos! I had more than my fair share and took part in the free tequila shot, gross!

Despite my efforts to clean the house the couches ended up being a lost cause. Not enough natures miracle in the world for that job (I have completely doused those things in natures miracle more times than I care to tell in the past few years). We found while we were hauling it out that he actually had not just peed on the cushions but had managed to spray (like a dog) the entire side of the sofa (how is that even possible?). So we are now seat less. Any ideas for alternative seating that a cat would not find an attractive place to be or pee on but is still comfortable for us? We miss watching movies!

In my attempt to finally get my garden going we drove over to the Shaker Lakes nature center's plant sale. Unfortunately they were sold out of all the native plants when we got there and none of the other plants fit what I was looking for. So we settled for a hike around the trails and I made David take lots of goofy photos. Is this man a keeper or what? I often wonder who Dirt Diva gets to take all of her fun trail photos for her. I know my man has a limit for how many posed shots he is willing to take or be a part of on any given outing :)

So without further ado enjoy the photos. I think that pretty much catches me up here. We will return to our regularly scheduled running program next post.

Mohican "Midnight" Run

A few weeks before Boston I noticed a post on the Mohican list serve mentioning a Mohican training weekend that would kick off with a Friday night 20 miler. Having suffered the roads for nearly 12 weeks I was itching to get out on the trails and the idea of a night run was intriguing to me. I'd heard fun stories about these runs from my SERC guys and decided that as long as I was recovered for Boston I would go down and do the midnight run. I figured it would be a good experience if I ever got asked to pace someone on a 100 miler and had to run through the night.

Well Thursday came and I saw a post on the list serve that the 20 miler was actually not on trails, it was on roads. Hmm now this little adventure of mine wasn't sounding nearly as exciting. But I had already posted that I would be there and again figured the night running would be good training. Put away my packed trail shoes and grabbed my new wave inspires instead.

Left work at 5pm and headed down to Mohican. My stomach was acting iffy and I had no idea what to eat beforehand as I have never run 20 miles in the evening. I opted for Panera in Wooster before continuing my journey south. Took me about 2 hours drive time to get there. Had to slow down to pass a horse buggy! Also saw some Amish fishing. Funny how the scenery can change so much in just 90 miles. Also had to slow for all the freaking hills. Hmm I had forgotten about those.

Got to Mohican with about an hour to spare so I changed into my running clothes and chatted with some old and new faces. My plan was to do the 20 miler then drive home as long as I was able. If not I would sleep in my car and drive back in the morning. Weather was cool so I opted for yoga pants and a short sleeve and tied a long sleeve and light jacket around my waist in case the temp dropped or it rained.

Roy got the group together for introductions and shortly after 8 PM we headed on our way. My intention was to take it easy and catch up with some of my trail blogging buddies. But I was like a little bunny and soon headed towards the front of the pack chatting away with new faces. That didn't last too long as we reached the first monster hill quickly and commenced the walking. I ended up in the second pack of runners which dwindled down to three of us as it started to rain. My intentions of going slow all went out the door with the rain. From that point on it was just keep moving with the group who knows where they are going and get back to your car as quick as possible.

My stomach started in around 5 miles. Not sure if it was female troubles or something I ate but my stomach just felt crappy the whole run. Being that we were out on roads in the middle of the night bathrooms weren't really abundant so I knew barring an emergency I wasn't going to get any relief until the 20 miles were done.

I didn't even bother with my jacket or gloves for the first 8 or so miles of the run. But finally one one of the hills I started to get a chill and threw on the jacket. About 2 minutes later the rain finally stopped. Of course then I got warm but I left the jacket on in hopes that it would hold off the rain. Unfortunately the rain kicked back up again about 30 minutes later and never did let up.

We made it to the halfway point at Rock Point in about 2 hours. Fueled up with some salt and vinegar pringles and a few cookies then we headed back into the dark. Picked up Rob here and now our little group was up to 4. My legs felt surprisingly good and we actually picked up the pace a little on the way back which suited me fine since I was just waiting to get to the ladies room.

After about 3 hours I was getting tired. Not running tired but "it is 2 hours past my bedtime" tired. I ate a pure fuel bar as we trudged up yet another hill in the dark. The guys were getting a little goofy by now and were having quite a good time talking up the big scary dog that was waiting for us in the last few miles.

On the way out I had noticed a chalk drawing on the road which I thought was a huge dog bone. I even made some comment to Roy about hey did you draw that dog bone? Well apparently it was not a dog bone and I made this realization as we ran back through this route. Let's just say I was a mite embarrassed when I realized what it actually was out loud to the guys who were obviously amused at my dog bone comment earlier knowing what it actually was.

My lower back and hips were starting to get tight from all the hill walking. When we were running we actually were moving at a good clip but there were a shit load of hills down there. I actually was tempted to start running them at the end just to get done but I knew the guys had to run again in the morning and I didn't know my way back so I trudged along.

My lamp didn't work really well so I was grateful Rob had a good headlight I could follow, especially when we got to "Big Hill." This was actually a downhill and it must have been a good half mile long and steep. I cannot fathom moving down that hill at the end of a 100 mile race. I believe I would sit down and cry. As it was my quads actually felt fine so I managed to follow Rob down the hill without tripping or beating myself up too badly.

We finally made it back to the campground right around midnight. I was looking forward to a warm shower to wake myself up before I headed home. The thought of sleeping in my car in that cold wet mess was appalling! Oddly enough once I got to the showers my stomach problems magically disappeared. Apparently my stomach just didn't want to be running that night. Stood and shivered waiting for the shower to warm up enough to step in. It never did so I dried off without the shower and headed home.

It was a long 2 hour drive and I again had to slow for a horse buggy. The back roads were rough in the dark and rain. But I survived. Grabbed a Reese's ice cream car and a frappuccino at a gas station in Wooster to boost my energy and finally made it home around 3AM and went straight into a warm Epsom salt bath before heading to bed.

It was definitely an adventure. Next time I am checking the weather first though. Running in the dark isn't so bad (with company), but running in the rain in the dark leaves something to be desired. I'm not sure I have quite warmed up from it yet, that rain really chills you!

Check out Mike's blog for a group photo before the 20 miler and the rain started.

Weekly Rundown- 5/5/2008-5/11/2008

Quick Recap of the past week (minus all the ice cream I inhaled)

Monday- Strength training at the gym with Daisy, 60 minutes. Squats, lunges, drills for the legs, lots of lifting for arms and shoulders, then some core work

Tuesday- Track workout with Daisy ~6 miles. 6*400 with 200 recoveries. All quarters were under 1:28 progressively getting faster. I felt pretty good.

Wednesday- Easy 45 minute run with my downtown gals, stopping to stretch at the big red stamp

Thursday- Tempo Run with Daisy. 2 mile warm up, 3 miles tempo, 1 mile cool down. Just a good effort run for me

Friday- 20 Miles down at Mohican (this warrants a post of its own)

Saturday- Hiked with David at Shaker Lakes Nature Center and mowed the lawn, shoyld have tried to get in a short run but was too lazy

Sunday- 21 minute warm up, Mom's Day 5k, 10 minute cool down

Feeling all right. Allergies or sinuses or something have been bothering me every morning this week, this morning has been the worst so far. My legs felt surprisingly okay after the midnight 20 miler. Just a little bit of lower back soreness and my right quad was complaining a bit, nothing a few epsom salt baths won't cure. Starting to build back up my mileage in preparation for jumping into a real training program soon.

Not Quite a PR-Mom's Day 5K Race Report

Ran a 5k today down in Independence. I had semi high hopes for a PR after such a great race last weekend. Unfortunately for me I didn't do the greatest race prep this week, eating or training wise and I showed up a little chubby and a lot tired to the race this morning.

My A goal was to break 19, B goal to PR, and C goal to break 20.

Well sometimes just like in my calculus class at the Berg you have to be happy with a C.

Got to the race a little later than I would like too, just being lazy and hitting the snooze a few too many times. Got my bib then hit the restrooms then it was off to warm up with my SERC peeps. We did around 20 minutes and I threw in 3*25 second strides towards the end before lining up at the start. I knew a few guys who have been running right around 19 even and figured if I tagged along with them I would have a good shot at my A goal.

A few announcements and we were off. First mile felt fine, definitely putting in a good effort and unsurprisingly hit it in 6:01. It felt hard and it was fast, but I hoped that I could just hold on. I've recently felt that I might be holding something back subconsciously because I am afraid of going too hard, so I wanted to push it today, but I also wanted to run smart. 2nd mile felt even harder and I did my best to cling to JT while I could sense someone on my right shoulder. I was pretty sure it was FD, but thought it may be a local femme running stud TM. I just did my best to keep it even and hold on. Around mile 2 I noted that it was FD on my shoulder but right then TM passed me and shortly after FD moved to follow her. I just didn't have it in me and tried to hold on to JT but soon he too was pulling away from me. Hit mile 2 in 6:02 but didn't have a lot of hope for holding onto that pace for long.

My 20 mile run from Friday night and my week long ice cream binge were coming back to bite me in the ass as I watched the group I had clung to pull away. I did my best to hold on, doing the math for a PR and realizing I would have to run a 6:30 which didn't feel possible. Beating myself up mentally a bit about how it was so "easy" to run 6:35 last week at the start of the Du and how now I was probably not even hitting sub 7. The wind kicked up a bit and I tried to smile as I passed a few friendly SERC faces cheering. But I was suffering. It is amazing how much you can pay in that last mile if you go out too fast in a 5k. To add salt to the wound, I wasn't even close to placing at this race. There were 5 amazing women in front of me and even if I did PR I was still going to come in 6th. With about a half mile to go I looked back to see no one even close. No one there to push me on or to draft off of. I don't know how I do it but many races I end up in this "no mans" zone, mostly because I mentally let go of the runner ahead when I should hold on.

I was giving it my all the last mile today though and there was just no holding. I headed onto the track and made the turn to see the clock clicking past 19:23 with quite a few strides to go. So much for that B goal, but I was happy to come in under 20 again and to know that sub 20 is hopefully going to become the norm for me now instead of an amazing day. Finished in 19:33 for 6th overall female and 2nd in my age group. Stopped to chat with all the phenoms at the finish. 3 gals totally out of my league, 1 still a significant challenge, and one amazing masters who kicked my fanny. Nothing like getting your ass handed to you by someone almost twice your age to humble you.

Met one of my new VR teammates who came in first in our age group and cheered Solar on in to a new PR and 3rd in our age group, then it was off for a quick cool down and chatting and taking some pics at the awards. I definitely wasn't ecstatic with my performance, and I guess I need to get a grip and realize that I should be damn happy about breaking 20 and worry about breaking 19 another day. The problem with getting faster is it never seems to be quite enough. It is like some sick disease!

But I know I did not run the smartest race today and even if I never get faster that is something to improve on. I could have PR'ed today without running two 6 minute miles. All it would have taken is three 6:13s. Instead I aimed too high and came up short because I died on the last mile, just barely eeking out 6:48 pace. Let's hope it is a lesson learned :) I guess that is what makes 5ks so damn tough! Just a hair too fast in the first few miles and you can really pay, too slow and you don't have enough time to make it up.

Silver Springs Duathlon Race Report

Sunday morning I was up bright and early. Feeling pretty groggy as I headed south to my first duathlon. I wasn't sure how the race would go. It's been almost two years since my last multisport event (Steelhead Half Ironman). I don't know how but somehow I managed to go through all of 2007 without doing a triathlon. Guess I have just been really focused on the running. I knew this race was small but Solar and Daisy were going to be there so it would be competitive. I did the race because it is part of the CTC Beast series which I signed up for. I was in the lead going into this race with Daisy and Solar in close second and third. I didn't anticipate beating either of them in a Du but my hope was to run well enough to come close behind and not fall too far behind on points.

Got to the race early and got scolded by B Bop. Some crack about what the heck was I doing there, didn't I know there was a bike ride involved with this race. We joked around and tried to decide on what layers we would wear. This was my first race as a part of the Vertical Runner race team so I was sporting my VR tank and a throw over/warm up top. It was chilly but I knew I would be hot on the run and cold on the bike. I opted for my tri shorts with my Boston fitted Capri's over top. On top I had my tank and I left my throw over in transition for the bike ride. Decided to run with my bike gloves on so that I wouldn't waste time in transition putting them on.

Did a quick warm up with the girls and then we were at the start listening to our instructions. And before we knew it we were off heading up hill. I just tried to go out at a reasonable pace. I wanted to do well on the run and if all went well get a good gap before hopping on the bike. First mile passed in 6:35 just as I was thinking that I felt like I was going about 10k pace effort and that it was probably a good plan of attack. I had hopes of running between 6:20-6:45 pace the first 5k and 6:45-7:15 pace the second 5k. I just felt great and coming into the 2nd mile grabbed a water and had another 6:35. I got excited and realized I could possibly break 20 if I picked it up a bit. Cruised into transition with the clock reading 19:37. I was so happy I really didn't care how the rest of the race went.

I was first gal into transition and I raced over to my bike and without thinking stripped my shoes and threw them at my bag realizing a second later duh I need those again! Grabbed those and put them back by my bike. Not my fastest transition ever closing in on 2 minutes. As I ran my bike to the mount area I heard Solar scream "I'm going to get you." Headed out onto the course and downed a gel and some water. I probably didn't eat enough for breakfast as I was super hungry.

Got through the first loop with no issues in about 19 minutes. Just trying to get comfortable on the bike and go as fast as I could. Starting to to get even hungrier so I cracked open a pure fuel energy bar and start snacking away. Shortly into the second loop Solar finally caught me. Thankfully she didn't blow by me like she did at Steelhead and I did my best to stay as close to her as I could.

Coming into the 3rd loop my pure fuel energy bar was kicking in and I was ready to hammer a bit and try to come in as close to Solar as I could. Unfortunately in my excitement I went straight at the first turn where I was supposed to go right. Oops. Almost a half mile later I realize that no one is in front of me and realize my mistake (the next turn had runners go right and cyclists go straight, I had just mixed up the turns) so I turned around and hammered as hard as I could the rest of the loop.

As I was coming to the turn into the park I could see Solar headed out onto the run. Chances of catching her were pretty slim. As I headed into the dismount area I saw Daisy and another girl heading out onto the run. Screamed for Daisy and then dismounted and rushed through transition as best as I could. One problem. I couldn't feel my feet! What a strange feeling. (My toes seem to always get numb on the bike if I am on for more than 30 minutes, I thought I did a good job of bringing them back to life the last few miles of the bike but apparently I thought wrong!) I stripped my shoes so that I wouldn't have to run the entire transition length in those, but it didn't seem to help, it felt like I was running on stubs. Managed to get the bike racked and my running shoes on quickly (had put on those little squeeze zip things so I wouldn't have to deal with tying, I was paying attention in all those TNT tri workshops!) and then it was out onto the run.

I ran as fast as my feet would carry me. Energy wise I felt great (Could it be the pure fuel bar?). But I literally felt like at any given moment the ground was going to come out from underneath me. Thankfully it didn't though and I quickly passed the girl who came out of T2 with Daisy. I was pretty sure that meant I was 3rd and I was just going to push as hard as I could to close the gap on Daisy and Solar. First mile was a surprising 6:48. I'm always amazed at how quick my legs can move off the bike despite feeling so strange. I was excited that my legs were moving quickly once again off the bike on this day.

Coming up after mile one I caught Daisy. Her Taco Bell was talking to her so I pulled ahead and just tried to get to the finish as fast as I could. Confirmed that we were in second before pushing forward. Hit mile two in 13:26 and realized I was holding pace. Passed a few guys as I headed down the gravel trail towards the finish. I could see Solar ahead but it would take a PR pace for me to catch her and that wasn't happening. I just ran as fast as my legs would carry and screamed for her as she turned towards the finish and I headed for the bridge that would take me to the finish. Picked up the pace and looked for Daisy behind me. Couldn't see her and I hammered as hard as I could into the park finishing my 2nd 5k in 19:58. I was absolutely stunned. I was so ecstatic to break 20 twice in one morning seeing as I had only done it once in my entire life.

Congratulated Solar and then we hooted and hollered Daisy on in to her 3rd place finish. How fun to sweep the podium with your two best friends! If I am going to get beat I want it to be by these girls that's for sure.

Very happy with my effort and what this means for my running in 2008. Can't believe I did so well on the bike, I actually thought it would be difficult to do the bike in 60 minutes without taking an almost mile detour so I am really excited that my run fitness has apparently kept me in decent cycling shape.

I'm not convinced the 5k course was legit so the 5k times definitely come with an asterisk but considering that they were two 5ks over the course of a duathlon I take those times to mean that I am in great shape to PR a certified 5k this weekend. I was also ecstatic that I ran both 5ks consistently with the first 2 miles of both 5ks being even pace, and I was even more excited that my second 5k was only 20 seconds slower than the first. It was really fun to dominate the women's race as far as running went. It felt good to be the "runner" on the course Sunday. I am just really ecstatic to be feeling so strong so quickly after Boston. I guess all that high mileage is paying off with a quick recovery!

Weekly Rundown (4/28/08-5/4/08)

Still mostly a recovery week for me but threw in some cycling so as not to be completely humiliated at the duathlon on Sunday.

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- Track 6 miles. Was going to do 6 easy but some smack talking got me riled up and I did a 1600 with the guys then a few 400s.

Warm up- 800 easy
4*100 strides with 100 recoveries
1600- 6:05
almost a mile easy with solar then 2*400 with 200 recoveries
1:30 for both of them
about a 2 mile cool down

Wednesday- Brick-Trainer ride 60 minutes, 2 mile run off (about 8:30 pace)

Thursday- Brick- 10 mile bike, 4 mile run off (about 8:40 pace)

Friday- 7.7 mile run with Daisy downtown in a torrential downpour

Saturday-Volunteered at the captains 5k in the morning doing race day registration and 2 mile splits.
Evening- 3 mile easy run when the rain broke for an hour

Sunday- Silver Springs Duathlon (report to come) two great runs and a pretty good bike for me
Warm up 7 minutes easy run

First 5k:19:37
T1: 1:44
Bike 17.5 Miles*: 60 minutes
T2: 0:58
Second 5k:19:58

2nd overall female

* I actually rode about 18.2 miles because I missed a turn and didn't realize it for about a half mile, rookie mistake, oh well

I'm feeling really good and I think recovery is coming along great. Quads feel normal again and I am ready to start training for the 50k in a few weeks here.


Thanks for all the cat advice. Much of it is stuff we already have in place, I guess that is why we are so frustrated :) Trail shoes are soaking in their second batch of natures miracle. I am not keeping my hopes up. In the meantime it is time for the great purge of 2008, I spent yesterday clearing out all sorts of clutter in the hopes that our house will be less pee and poop appealing. Hopefully I'll find time this week for the rest of it.

Now onto endurance sports business. Remind me why I signed up for a duathlon in the boonies that starts at 8 AM two weeks after Boston. I'm cold, I'm tired, and I am not a morning person. Let's hope the long drive leaves me a little cheerier! ;)

My buddy Bridget is running the pig today. Fingers crossed that she smashes her goal!

Houston we have a problem

How can you stay mad at this "little" cutie?

Well I will tell you how you can be pushed "this close" to making him a permanent basement kitty for life.

Since we went home to Michigan for the Martian 10k about 5 weeks ago, this little man has defecated on our couches about 5 times, has "wet' the bed, peed on two of the couches, and this morning on my way out the door I found that a wind jacket had fallen off the hook onto my trail shoes and some flip flops which master Monte decided was the perfect place to leave his mark. I have handled the couch messes and even the bed mess with delicate reprimands and trying to make sure he is a happy guy, but I lost my shit this morning when he pissed on my perfectly good trail shoes.

In the past I have lost every single pair of my dress shoes to his pissing fits and many a gym bag but I finally lost my cool this morning and screamed "Really my f$%^ing trail shoes?" at him. And I know that was completely the wrong thing to do and he is probably even more upset now and will go and pee on my Boston medals or something.

We are pretty much lost as to what to do about it. In the past this has been a once every six months or so thing. Having it happen this many times in the past few weeks is really starting to grind on us. Before we were using feliway plug ins and I stopped using those because he seemed happy and they are really expensive, and we are broke (and they didn't stop his fits completely, they were actually more for Milford who had kidney issues).

So any cheap remedies you guys have for bad cat attitude that results in bathroom stops in inappropriate places let me know (and no getting rid of the cat is not an option) although I am seriously tempted to find someone that owns a large farm for him to roam on. I just can't figure out what the heck he is so upset about. He's lucky he is so cute and a snuggler when he isn't being bad.

For those that don't know the history we already put tin foil on our couches to keep him off them when we are not there. However since we got the girls they have become his little enablers. They are not afraid of the tin foil at all and think it is great fun to play with the time foil and knock it off the couch leaving the couch bare and ready to be marked. I just hope they don't catch onto this whole marking thing. Paivi was way too interested in the smelly flip flops this morning.

And to think a month ago I went and got him catnip bubbles and an automatic laser toy, and this is how he repays me!

Belated Weekly Training Rundown- Last week of Boston and Post Boston

I'll make this one quick as we are obviously far removed from Boston now ;)

The week leading up to Boston was all about recovery and rest. I had to tweak the Pfitzinger plan a bit being that Boston is on a Monday, and Friday we would be on a train leaving no time for a run.

I want to note (for my future reference) that I stopped all strength training 3 weeks out from Boston. I'm not convinced this was bright now. I think I could have done another week and even gone light on it but still done it two weeks out to keep my quad strength higher.

Monday- Rest

Tuesday- 6 miles Recovery 8 min pace on track with Frank

Wednesday- 43 minute run with Daisy around downtown to find Amtrak station. EZ

Thursday- 7 mile run. 4-5 mile warm up with Salty then 2 miles at marathon race pace (7:31 and 7:29) and an easy cool down to the car (followed by a milkshake at fat burger yum!)

Friday- Rest (Train)

Saturday-42 minute recovery run with Katy and Daisy. 5*25 second strides

Sunday- 25 minute recovery run with Daisy

My mileage this week was a little lighter than the actual Pfitzinger plan, but I figured with all the walking around you do in Boston I'd rather err on the light side.

Boston Recovery Week

Monday- 26.2 + a few hours of dancing

Tuesday- Rest (Train)

Wednesday- walked 1.5 miles with David

Thursday- Rest

Friday- Quick strength workout, 20 minutes focusing on arms, core, and stretching

Saturday- (This is where I start to misbehave) 10-11 miles trails. Too hard. I fell twice before backing it off and just tried to keep the group close enough so I didn't get lost. My quads were shredded from the start, and by the end my glutes felt like they were going to rip in half. Note to self, don't go out with a group for your first post marathon recovery run.

Treated myself to a new pair of shoes and flip flops at Vertical Runner after the run to assuage my hurt ego :) Nothing like going out with a fast group to get your humility back post race.
Got the Mizuno Wave Inspires since my little gait analysis showed more pronation than I thought I had. I wonder if your feet just change over time. A few years ago when I got the Mizuno Wave Riders the running store guys swore up and down to me I was neutral, but the video clearly shows that I currently pronate.

Sunday- 8 easy roads with SERC (except for last 2 where I picked it up to hang with Frank and Christine) Legs were still stiff but I was able to shuffle along without too much trouble. By mile 6 I "caught" Frank on the turn and then ran it in with them.

After lunch I headed out to hop on my bike and got in about 9 miles before calling it a day. It was cold and I was not properly dressed for cycling in that.

This week I am "cramming" for my first duathlon on Sunday. It is part of the Beast series so I need to hold my own if I don't want to give up my lead. I'm just hoping Daisy and Solar don't crush me by too much. I think the runs will be fine but I am really a sorry excuse for a cyclist (or at least I was last time I raced in 2006). So this week I am just slowly bumping my run mileage, all easy runs except for Tuesday and I am going to try and get in another bike ride tomorrow and maybe Saturday and hope for the best on Sunday. Weather isn't looking too appealing so I am not sure how much I am going to enjoy my first du.